Jo Ik had put on an awkward smile as I leaned on his shoulder. Do Kyung-wook’s throat trembled. He was probably asking what was happening. But how would he be able to respond?
The human neck was one of the more fragile areas of the body and, if put under pressure, would surely snap. Jo Ik found it difficult to speak, let alone send a message with his qi.
[Ei. Do Kyung-wook.]
Do Kyung-wook’s eyes widened as I sent him a message. He must have been quite shocked that I had learned martial arts.
But, having heard my message, unless they were an idiot, they would have noticed my strength.
[How did you get internal…]
[That’s not for you to know. I will warn you. Stop thinking about making a fight happen with me. I no longer have a broken dantian.]
His expression hardened at my warning.
If he had the slightest bit of awareness, he would back down. If his pride took center stage, then they would probably do something foolish.
Before that, I needed to ensure they could not act recklessly, at least. I smiled as I looked at Chung Myung, Hyun Jin, and Tang Hyehwa.
“It is an honor to be able to participate in the tournament and to also be able to greet such esteemed people.”
“You are participating?”
Everyone couldn’t hide their shock at my words. Looking at their reaction, it seemed they had been told something about the Ikyang So family sending their eldest son as their representative.
“Ah. You might not know. My older brothers are both ill, so I was asked to represent our family in their place.”
If I said I had been elected rightfully, it would only bring more questions, and I was no longer the trash that everyone knew me as.
“So Yong-hyun is ill?”
Do Kyung-wook looked at me, not understanding, and I said,
“You don’t seem to know. He is.”
With that, I released my arm that was placed around Jo Ik’s neck.
He, who almost had his neck broken, stumbled back in fear as he understood the difference in our skill.
“Yong-hyun is really not feeling well?”
Kang Hye-so’s older sister, Kang Hye-mi, asked me with a worried voice.
She had been someone who naturally treated me with disrespect. I just nodded.
“Right. If you are worried, come visit us later, Child Hye.”
She couldn’t say anything, though.
-What is it?
I had been despised, and I was told to treat her as my older sister and with the associated respect, but I decided I would only give her half-respect.
I smiled as I said.
“Is something wrong?”
Her cheeks trembled. She must be angry with me, but, well, I was older than her.
She looked at me and spoke in a sarcastic voice.
“That is quite sad. If Brother Yong-hyun had come, your family might have brought back good results, but you came.”
So young and childish.
She acted as if her judgment had been clouded by the painful news. The same feeling I had when dealing with my siblings returned since these people played a huge part in tormenting me.
At that time, Sima Young, who was standing to the side, smiled brightly at this. Seeing this, Kang Hye-mi frowned.
“Are you laughing?”
“It is fun seeing you evaluate my sahyung without knowing his skills.”
At her words, Kang Hye-mi narrowed her eyes. On the other hand, Chung Myung, who was standing with Hyun Jin, felt embarrassed.
As a member of a sect that solely concentrated on martial arts, they would naturally be skilled at estimating someone’s skills, and Hyun Jin should be able to guess my skills to some extent.
Kang Hye-mi trembled in anger and said to Do Kyung-wook.
“Since you are from the same eastern side, why not Brother Do teach a few lessons to this one?”
-She is also another fox.
Short Sword clicked her tongue.
She decided to hand over the task of fighting to Do Kyung-wook. However, he doesn’t respond hastily.
It was only natural.
Being the Ikyang So family’s representative meant that the head acknowledged me. He couldn’t just come out and do anything he wanted.
As he hesitated, Kang Hye-mi’s throat trembled, making Do Kyung-wook’s face visibly shocked.
She must be pushing him with a silent message. Ah… come to think of it, these two were engaged.
It was annoying to spend all this emotion on these children. Wouldn’t it be better if I just pushed them down now? As I thought that…
Everyone’s eyes turned to the stairs at the shout. There stood a young man wearing blue robes.
-Wonhui, isn’t he that one? The disciple of Mount Hyeong?
Just as Short Sword said, the young man was the disciple of Moung Hyeong, Cho Jeong-un.
I didn’t expect him to be here. Did this mean the Mount Hyeong sect came here too?
Yong-yong had to be here as well, then.
Hearing this, Chung Myung became puzzled. Well, that was to be expected.
No one standing there looked old enough to be called sasuk.
However, he was referring to me. Since we had a bit of history back at my family home, the man had naturally started to call me sasuk.
Hyun Jin, who recognized the man, greeted him.
“Aren’t you Disciple Seo Hyung of Mount Hyeong?”
“Hyun hyung! It has been so long.!”
They seemed to recognize each other. This was somewhat expected because they both belonged to sects that used the blade.
Tang Hye-hwa and Chung Myung followed the lead and also bowed. Hyun Jin then asked.
“But who did hyung refer to here when you called for your sasuk?”
This was good.
If they could make him give an answer, I wouldn’t have to do anything troublesome. So I then looked at Seo Il-joo, Cho Jeong-un’s actual name, and bowed.
“You are here.”
Seo Il-joo waved his hand at my actions.
“Sasuk, why are you doing this? Please speak freely. Teacher will yell at me if you do this.”
Everyone was shocked at how polite he was being to me. There were many sects, especially on the orthodox side, where hierarchy was important. Seo Il-joo referring to me by a higher hierarchical rank, shocked them.
“Seo hyung. Is this young man a direct family member?
“Ah, you must not know.”
With that, he turned towards me and asked permission with a gentle glance. I nodded my assent.
He pointed to Sima Young, who was seated at the table, and said to Hyun Jin.
“So sasuk and Ma sasuk are disciples of the South Heavenly Swordsman.”
At those words, everyone, not just the six people there, in the guest house became silent.
Well, even if they didn’t look like it, people do always like to listen to other people’s commotion.
Once the South Heavenly Swordsman was mentioned, everyone lost their minds.
“South Heavenly Swordsman?”
“Ho Jong-dae’s successor?”
The entire floor became noisy as everyone talked with their mouths wide open.
“I-Is that true?”
I responded with the most humble expression I could muster to Chung Myung’s question.
“I am lacking, but I did learn my martial arts from my teacher.”
Chung Myung groaned. Hyun Jin’s attitude quickly changed as he bowed his head.
“You should have told us right away! If you are Seo sahyung’s sasuk, then you are my sasuk as well. I almost committed the most horrible sin!”
As expected of a Taoist sect, they valued manners above all.
“You are a sasuk to me too!”
Chung Myung also said this as he bowed his head. As expected of another Taoist sect disciple.
In an instant, I was considered their close friend.
“This is a bit embarrassing.”
This had all been intentional, but I pretended to be slightly embarrassed.
I then glanced at Kang Hye-mi, Do Kyung-wook, and Jo Ik.
All of them were stunned as they stared at me. I gave them a smile in return.
“What were you saying earlier? Teach me what?”
My question caused a buzz to fill the air. Being the successor to the South Heavenly Swordsman was enough to cause havoc. Then these kids said that they would teach me something. Naturally, this caught the attention of everyone around us.
They were unable to hide their shock as they said.
“Who will teach whom?”
Eventually, they waved their hands while backing down.
“Ahhh. I feel so full and satisfied.”
Sima Young cutely patted her stomach as she came out of the inn. The Dongpo Pork was a delicious food worthy of the hype.
I must say, it was excellent.
Thanks to Mount Hyeong’s Seo Il-joo, we avoided some troublesome moments during our meal.
The three members from Mount Hunan probably felt a bit uncomfortable.
“I think we can ask for some to be packed. Should I bring it?”
Sima Young agreed with Cho Sung-won’s words.
“Right. Earlier, didn’t Seo Il-joo also say he was going to get the pork packed!”
As she said, Seo Il-joo had gone in to get some food packed. It seemed that the other members of his sect had gone straight to the castle.
It was because they had been given lodgings inside. Yong-yong seemed to be there too.
The two of them looked at me with pitiful eyes that made me smile.
“I will go and order!”
Chon Sung-won ran back inside with excitement. As he entered, I suddenly thought it would be good to take some back for Hae Ack-chun and the twins.
I asked Sima Young to add to the order, prompting her to re-enter the guest house.
As she went in, a six-year-old child approached me.
“Excuse me. Have this.”
The child handed me a small, folded piece of paper. Once she was done with the task, she then ran off somewhere.
I looked at what was given to me.
I couldn’t understand what was written on it.
[If you do not want to lose the sword, come alone to the forge without anyone else.]
It was late at night, with few people left on the street.
It could be said that they had deliberately aimed for a time like this.
As I entered the forge, I could see the cooling furnace and hammers and tools lying on the side.
I could feel a presence inside the place, more than one.
As I heard the voice, I went inside and saw the craftsman lying in the corner. Inside, a masked man was wearing a bamboo hat sitting inside.
I could hear Iron Sword’s voice in my head.
The Iron Sword was in the masked man’s hand.
As its restoration was complete, the masked man was stroking an Iron Sword that looked beautiful now.
“Such a good sword. Is this the famous treasured sword of the South Heavenly Swordsman?”
The masked man asked this, to which I replied coldly.
“You… what are you?”
At my question, the masked man smiled and placed the Iron Sword on a wooden board next to him.
He then folded his arms and spoke in an arrogant tone.
“I have come to deliver a message from the young lady.”
It was then that I guessed that he was from Baek Hye-hyang.
Since he wore a bamboo hat, it perhaps meant that he should be participating or had another mask covering his face.
“What do you mean?”
“Give up on the tournament. If you go back now, Baek Ryeon-ha’s life will be spared once she surrenders.”
I was a bit taken aback by the words. This man, he must have looked down on me.
So I took a stride forward.
The masked man immediately placed Iron Sword on the floor by its tip. He then held the handle and pushed his leg on the blade.
It felt like he was trying to bend him.
“You do not want to lose your sword, right?”
Now he was threatening me with the sword. If I did not comply, then the sword would be broken.
As the boy stared at me, I shook my head and laughed.
“What is this supposed to mean?”
I spoke to him in a low voice.
“This isn’t Baek Hye-hyang’s message but yours, isn’t it?”
At this, the boy’s eyes fluttered. I then stretched out my hand.
The silver string moved like lightning and wrapped itself around Iron Sword.
Once I infused my innate qi into it, the silver string pulled my sword back into my hand.
I then pointed the sword to the shocked-looking boy and asked.
“What about the sword?”
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