Chapter 89 - Murim Alliance (3)

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[I don’t like him. Even if his old man is one of the Eight Great Warriors or something, I don’t like him.]

Sima Young grumbled to me.

Perhaps because she was the daughter of one of the Four Great Evils, Sima Chack, she didn’t seem intimidated at all.

On the other hand, Cho Sung-won looked like he had been through a storm.

And the two vice commanders who followed the twins were simply amazed by Jin Gyun.

At that moment, I heard Hae Ack-chun speak,

[… who was that?]

As I thought, he had noticed.

Even if he was far away, he wasn’t the kind of person who could have missed this.

[The Flame Emperor Great Blade.]

[He doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.]

Said Hae Ack-chun, his voice rising. It wasn’t fear, but it was a confidence that screamed ‘I could win.’

[Unfortunate. If it wasn’t this kind of situation I would have wanted a fight.]

It was only expected that this man wanted to fight.

[I apologize. We suddenly met…]

[Huh. Enough. Your thoughts are too obvious. It must have been because you thought I would bump into him.]

Listening to his tone, it felt like he knew my feelings.

Even though he had the name Ghastly Monster, he wasn’t foolish enough to fight at the heart of the orthodox sects.

I thought this man was great.

‘I feel embarrassed,’

-Why?

I saw one of the twelve humans who were known to have transcended, and up close at that.

When I thought of Hae Ack-chun in that fight, I felt scared. It was like being suppressed solely by the difference in skills.

-There is no need to be embarrassed, Wonhui.

Iron Sword said to soothe me.

‘Uh?’

-Even my former master who was stronger than you couldn’t have come close to the Transcendent Twelve. Don’t beat yourself up.

He was right.

This wasn’t something I could rush into. However, it was necessary to learn about Hae Ack-chun, whose spirit would burn bright for victory, no matter who his opponent was.

Soon Hae Ack-chun spoke up again,

[He comes.]

Did our contact arrive?

When I turned to Hae Ack-chun, I saw a middle-aged man wearing a blade walk up to his table.

Ah! The spy who was infiltrating the Murim Alliance.

-Someone you know?

Could I not know?

A high-level spy, Do Young-hyun.

One of the three most experienced spies. A spy skilled enough to have been on this job for nearly nine years.

Around this time, when I was also sent in as a spy, I remember hearing a bit about the education system and the current state of the alliance.

-He had been here longer than you.

I understood it.

But I also didn’t work nine straight years here. Nine years as a spy was not easy. Among the many spies sent to the alliance, those who had lived more than nine years numbered less than ten.

However, he remained without dying for ten years.

[The end of a spy is decided. Do not expect too much.]

… there is no hope. In any case, Do Young-hyun was needed for this mission. He was serving as a member of the guarding troops which were stationed on the outskirts of the Murim Alliance compound, so he was needed to help seize the sword.

-Uh? He is passing by?

As Short Sword said, the guy passed by the seat of Hae Ack-chun. There were people seemingly waiting for him, waving their hands at him.

‘He is doing it properly.’

-He is?

Unless it was a rare sight, how could one pretend to recognize this man in such a crowded space? This was probably one of the common stomping grounds of Do Young-hyun.

-What are you even saying?

Long-term spies have multiple contact points. These junctions are places that are included in the regular routine of the person, places where the spies would normally go with their ‘colleagues.’

Because if he was alone, people would become suspicious. Perhaps those three men who were already there were from the same troop as him, and regulars too.

‘Now he will look around.’

-Uh? For real?

As I said, Do Young-hyun quickly looked around. At that moment I took a certain stance.

Not just me, but Song Jwa-baek in the other awning struck the same stance,

-Ah, this is the code. Who is on the mission?

‘Right.’

I remember it all well.

Meeting him directly, but only signaling who was on the mission.

Names could be given, but that might lead to confusion. Do Young-hyun looked around naturally twice.

Now it is done.

-That works?

‘It is the basic skill of a spy.’

One should be able to familiarize faces with only two or three scans. Even I could remember someone’s face with two scans.

Do Young-hyun, who now knew our faces, naturally touched his neck.

Who was he signaling?

Ah…

Song Hwa-baek was suddenly startled as he moved. If there was a spymaster here, then they would have noticed right away.

Even Hae Ack-chun was shocked.


We got information from the contact point and moved to a village outside of the Murim Alliance’s backyard.

Since the Murim Alliance was now flooded with many people coming and going, there were large villages orbiting the alliance.

A guest house in one such village with three rooms was reserved in advance.

Entering the rightmost room and tearing off the third wooden board under the bed, a book the size of a palm was hidden there.

This was the current situation that the spy had created for us.

The guards’ shifts, most of which varied, were carefully and neatly recorded in this book.

We had memorized the contents in half an hour. And then the book was burned.

When everything was done, Hae Ack-chun told us,

“Now, only you people can head in. I will be outside the grounds until the day of the tournament. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

Hae Ack-chun couldn’t enter the fort.

As it was a Murim tournament many sects would gather here.

There would be many people there who would have been able to recognize or discover Hae Ack-chun, especially the Wudang Sect leader.

And such people had a way to figure out if it was Hae Ack-chun even if he wore a mask.

So he had decided to not enter the fort.

We would be the only ones sneaking in.

Once we moved in, our party was divided into two.

Song Jwa-baek and I moved separately, each aiming to win this tournament.

In the end, if both of us made it to the finals then Song Jwa-baek would concede.

Tak!

Hae Ack-chun unwrapped a cloth and placed it on the table.

There were two sheaths in it. From the outside, they looked plain, but these swords were a little longer and thicker than normal swords, which were specially made and had a space inside to hide another sword

“You need to know what to do.”

“Yes.”

“From now on, there is no need to remove this sheath from your body.”

“We will keep that in mind.”

I was handed the sheath which I used to replace the former sheath I had been using for Iron Sword.

-I feel like I am wearing ill-fitting clothes, Wonhui

It must be because there was an empty space inside. Now he could enjoy the extra space.

And after a while, another guest would arrive.

“You have about ten days, you know that you need to get the work done before that, right?”

“Yes.”

There was something we had to do. Rust must be removed from the body of Iron Sword before the tournament begins.

That way, everyone would be able to recognize Iron Sword


Tang!

The sound of something knocking on iron echoed everywhere.

The vibrant noise was filled with the sounds of bellows, the heat and smoke from iron being heated.

I had come to forge street on the west side of town. The village outside the Murim Alliance compound was full of such things, since this place was crowded with warriors.

Unlike other blacksmiths, there were many who specialized in weapons, but there was one I was looking for, who could handle the cold iron.

The number of blacksmiths alone numbered more than forty, but if I went to a famous place they would keep me at the bottom of their waiting list, so I went to find a quiet place.

-Can cold iron be handled in a quiet place?

‘There is a place I can think of…’

-There is?

But I wasn’t sure if it was here.

-What are you talking about?

Before returning, a great craftsman appeared on blacksmith street.

He made his name as a sword craftsman for generations of ancestors, repairing the treasured sword, Vivid Silence, the sword of the Murim Alliance leader.

Having repaired the weapon of one of the Eight Great Warriors, it was only natural to become famous.

I remember hearing that it was a place that only acquaintances knew, but anyone can go now, right?

-But why does everyone look so busy?

Right.

The blacksmiths all around us seemed to be busy, probably because the tournament was right around the corner.

It seemed that there were quite a few other people who were here to repair their weapons besides me.

Before long, I found a shabby blacksmith in the far corner

-Is it really the place?

While the other forges were crowded with men, this one looked quite shabby. The common knocking sound couldn’t even be heard from inside.

And Iron Sword said,

-My former master once said that the world is the same as nothing, so the higher one climbs, the less noticeable some things become.

-What are you talking about now?

-Aren’t there a lot of places that look shabby yet have the most delicious food? The former master always found such places to eat.

-Right, is there something your former master didn’t know?

-Ahem.

Well, even if Iron Sword tried to spin it like that, it didn’t change that this place was still shabby. First of all, I had to head in and meet the man to confirm, right?

As I was about to go to the corner of the street, I heard something.

-Please… please kill me

-I cannot live like this

-Melt me.

Sounds of swords I had heard from before.

Ah, right. At that time, the sword Baek Hye-hyang held was making this sound. The sword kept telling me that it wanted to die.

And this was coming from the shabby forge. I moved quietly.

Snore!

As I went into the forge I could hear the sound of snores. In the front room was a man in his forties with a red face, holding a wine bottle, stretched out, and asleep.

‘What?’

Broken pieces of iron were littered around the man.

When I looked at the hammer next to the pieces of iron, it looked like he broke it.

-…

The terrifying sound continued to come from further inside

Curious, I moved in and I couldn’t help but wonder why such sounds were being made.

And when I went in, I felt shocked.

‘…!!’

There were nearly a hundred cracked swords stuck in a place that looked like a burner. But the swords all had the same shape.

-What are they?

I mumbled,

“Vivid Silence…”

All the broken swords looked similar.

No, were they swords based on it? Were they all based on the sword of Baek Hyang-muk, the leader of the Murim Alliance?

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