Noh Songgu, the Blood Wolf leader, responded to my suggestion like it was ridiculous. In fact, it was he who was taking the initiative, but it probably seemed like an idiot’s move to try and make a deal right now.
“You must be out of your mind.’
“I am sane.”
Actually, I was out of my mind.
As Noh Songgu’s hand pushed his blade ahead, my body and mind still felt fine. What could I not say in this state?
“I mean it, sincerely.”
Noh Songgu stepped on my chest. Man, he was as relentless as much as I still feared the Blood Cult. No matter how hard he stepped on me, my words still managed to come out.
“I shouldn’t just kill you.”
“If you want to prolong your life even a little more, you will have to speak your purpose for using my father’s name and trying to get a place in the sect.”
Noh Songgu pushed his foot further. If he stepped just a little harder, my chest might explode.
Nog Songgu’s foot, which was trying to kill me, lost its strength as his face hardened.
“How do… you know that name?”
The reason he reacted to the name like this was simple. Noh Sehwa was his sister. To be precise, she was the sister who disappeared about 15 years ago.
“Tell me! How do you know that name!”
Noh Songgu pushed me. Truth be told, I was scared out of my wits, but I couldn’t just reveal all my cards immediately, right?
“Are you going to keep doing this? Or will you make a deal with me?”
Noh Songgu stared at me and lifted his foot off of my chest. But he still didn’t withdraw his blade on my neck.
“…You think this is enough for us to make a deal?”
“I know that even enemies will take responsibility for the words they speak.”
The Noh Songgu I knew was a man who was generous and faithful to his subordinates, very much unlike other Blood Cult members.
-His voice is shaking.
‘It is his sister who he has been looking for.’
Noh Songgu had judged me to be an enemy here. Yet, when I mentioned the name of the sister he had been searching for, his heart could not help but be shaken.
‘How will you respond, Blood Wolf squad leader?’
I stared him in the eyes. Soon, Noh Songgu opened his mouth.
“What do you want? Do you want me to keep my mouth shut about your truth?”
Sure, that’s something I wanted, but this was too huge an opportunity to waste.
“That’s why I said, let’s make a deal.”
“It seems like you don’t have any hope of holding on to your life.”
“Then the leader will never be able to find his sister.”
In exchange for my life, this man could find his sister.
In a way, that too would be the beginning of his life’s misery.
Noh Songgu asked me with a grimace.
“What more do you want?”
“Be my strength when I need you.”
“Ha! Did you just ask me to become your crutch? You must really want to…”
“Not that. It’s just that if I get into trouble here, I will ask the leader for help.”
Noh Songgu was soon to become a peak master. If he cpi;d come to my aid, I won’t be at the bottom of the pecking order any more.
“Nonsense! I am not someone like that! I cannot close my eyes when you could bring harm to the sect and help? I am not going to let myself be played by you.”
“You are only in the Blood Cult to pay back the debt that your father left? Right?”
“No… How do you know this?’
Noh Songgu was in shock. The only person who knew of his condition was in the highest position of the cult. Most of the Blood Cult simply thought that this man was just walking after his father’s path, but the reality was different.
“Didn’t you take charge as the squad leader in exchange for information about the man who killed your father?”
This was something I heard directly from the man.
“… What is your fucking identity?”
I thought that even I would be curious in such a situation, but it was impossible to say ‘I have returned from ten years in the future’.
So I had to shift his attention.
“Let’s do this. I will not only tell you the whereabouts of your sister but also about the man who murdered your father and who made your eye like that.”
He was a bit shaken by everything he would receive from this deal. Anyway, these are things I heard from a future Noh Songgu, so I had nothing to fear.
“How do I know that you aren’t lying just to escape this situation?”
“I have the blood parasite within me. Can’t the leader kill me at any time?”
Noh Songgu’s face was clearly contemplating my words. I did have the blood parasite within me, and if I tried to run, they could kill me.
After hesitating for a while, he eventually made up his mind.
Then he took his blade off of my neck.
I never thought it would be such a relief. My gamble managed to work.
“If it is false. You die.”
“Whatever you like.”
“Who killed my father?”
That is what he wanted to know first, even more than his sister’s fate. I knew who it was, but I hesitated before saying it.
“… First Blood Star.”
At the unexpected name from my mouth, his expression changed.
At this time, he still believed that the Murim Alliance was the one who had killed his father and kidnapped his sister. So he entered the Blood Cult, vowing to take revenge on those people.
However, when he learned that the true culprit is the highest member of the cult, he seemed to doubt me.
“Are you playing with me now?”
“Play with you? Not at all. I shall correct my words. To be precise, it was done by another leader who had received orders from the First Blood Star. When he tried to kill your father, there were traces of the Murim Alliance left in…”
Noh Songgu went back to stepping on my chest.
I try not to show it, but my expression was clearly changing as the pain turns my face red.
“Why don’t you ask your sister directly?”
“Leader’s sister knows the truth.”
“… my sister knows?”
“Your sister is in Jinhai county of Zhejiang Province. If you go there yourself, your sister might end up dead, so send someone you can trust.”
That place was managed by the First Blood Star. In his previous life, Noh Songgu met his dying sister there and heard the truth. He could not win over his anger and went to confront the First Blood Star, after which his squad was disbanded, and all his members were dispersed to other groups.
Noh Songgu glanced at me and turned away like he had nothing to say.
-He must be too shocked
I knew at once what he wanted to know. I just wanted things to not be the same as in my previous life.
He’s a Blood Cult member, but this man was someone I admired a lot. If only his sister, his only blood, didn’t die, no matter how strong his father’s killer is, he wouldn’t lose his cool and could challenge the First Blood Star.
After looking at me for a while, Noh Songgu regained his calm. He then took his foot off my chest and extended his hand.
When I took that hand, he pulled me up. Noh Songgu then looked at me with a firm expression.
“I will trust you just this once.”
“Don’t think you are out of danger. If this turns out false, I don’t care who you are or what you know. I will kill you myself.”
“But if this is true… I will consider you as my life’s benefactor.”
“… You’re not just saying that, right?”
“I believed you, but you cannot get yourself to believe me?”
“No. I believe you.”
You are a man who is full of faith and would never go back on your words.
I could not help but believe you.
But I had been beaten up so much in my previous life that asking that question had become a habit. Even beasts you could eventually trust, but not people.
“Then the deal is sealed.”
Noh Songgu nodded at me. As it seems that I managed to barely hold onto my life, I began tearing up. Moments later, Noh Songgu looked at me and said,
“But I cannot tell if you are smart or stupid.”
“I didn’t even speak of your grandfather’s name, but you decided that you were caught, and this happened.”
When I heard that, it felt like being hit in the head with a hammer.
As Noh Songgu said, he never mentioned my grandfather’s name. I simply guessed that they had done a background check on me and jumped to conclusions.
-Well, this is how you do things.
Even the short sword seemed to enjoy it when I am in trouble.
But when I thought back, I don’t think it would have worked out anyway else.
Even if my grandfather’s name wasn’t mentioned here, this man remembered everyone he trained with, so I couldn’t possibly have fooled him.
“… I just thought it was natural.”
I spoke with pride, and Noh Songgu seemed to be in a better mood after seeing my expression. Now all that was left was to receive the plaque.
“The deal is done. So can I go and get my plaque?”
Even if I didn’t want to, I had to get a middle or upper-rank plaque.
However, that was only possible with skilled or talented people, so if I received it, especially an upper-rank plaque, people would doubt me.
However, Noh Songgu’s expression seemed strange.
“I am keeping my mouth shut for now, but I haven’t confirmed my sister’s whereabouts yet. And you are hoping for me to give you benefits already.”
“No, this much should be fine.”
“Funny. If you want to receive it, prove your skills.”
The conversation was turning again. I felt like we have been going in circles for quite some time.
-Kikiki. You got caught too.
I thought he was a good man who didn’t use his head too often, but now I was seeing new sides to him.
“…How do I prove it?”
He was different from the man I knew, so I had to be certain.
Noh Songgu waved his hand at me.
“I heard that you have a body that cannot cultivate internal qi. I won’t use qi and attack you with my bare hands.”
Oh! Fair play!
Noh Songgu continued with a confident voice.
“Even if I don’t use my internal qi, there will be no gap in my movements. I will give you whatever rank you want if you can hit me just once.”
First-rate warriors don’t have run-of-the-mill bodies. I was also at an overwhelming disadvantage because I had only trained physically.
“Can I use this dagger?”
“Do whatever you want. What difference will having a dagger make when you don’t know martial arts or have internal qi?”
At those words, I smiled.
Small Short Sword spoke with determination.
-Dagger? Hey! I am Short Sword! Take me out already!
At the other side of the cave…
Excluding one person, all the trainees had received their plaques. As the rest of the trainees took longer than expected, Gu Sang-woong, the commander, began to get anxious.
Meanwhile, Leader Oh’s face was filled with joy.
‘I told him to teach him right, and he must have been caught. I did say I was going to watch him. Hehehe.’
It was worthwhile to call for Noh Songgu.
Instead of waiting for the person he sent to Yulang to investigate and report back, he could simply save himself the trouble by calling someone who would know the truth behind the kid’s story.
And it seemed like there was going to be a tragic end.
“Commander. If my guess is right I…”
The commander raised his hand and signaled Leader Oh to be quiet. Leader Oh wondered why before he saw someone coming out of the cave.
It was So Wonhwi.
So Wonhwi, who came out of the cave, proudly lifted something up in his hand.
Not a lower plaque but middle? Leader Oh’s expression became distorted at the sight.
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