‘Are you fine?’
-I am fine. It’s not like I can be bent easily.
As he said, the South Iron Sword wasn’t bent at all. He wasn’t just made of stiff iron but also had a slight elasticity.
Swords that were referred to as treasured ones tend to be like this. However, it was still unpleasant to have someone threaten you with a sword as a hostage.
“What will you threaten me with this time?”
At my words, the man stood up.
“I was told there is something like a trick on your body. What was that?”
‘He didn’t see it.’
It seemed like he didn’t even get a good look at the silver string. That must have been it.
The masked man wasn’t strong enough since I didn’t even need to use my middle dantian to pull back the sword.
The man then took a stance.
“You should have just given up when I gave you a chance.”
He then ran towards me with his fists aimed at my face. I stood still and just drew my sword diagonally across his fist.
He then used his footwork to dodge my slash and aimed for my side. His kick was aimed directly at me.
I shifted my body to the side and grabbed him by the neck.
He became shocked at this. I didn’t care and simply threw him to the ground.
As soon as he hit the ground, he tried to make me lose my balance with his legs, but I countered with a stab to his ankle.
As the sword went through his foot, he screamed, and I punched him in the chin.
The sound of his teeth smashing against each other was clear. His face and body trembled with the pain.
I removed his bamboo hat and mask after ensuring he couldn’t move anymore. He had a face that seemed to be in his early twenties.
“Human skin mask.”
The face was injured, and the skin had crumbled a little.
When I pulled it off, an ugly face full of scars became visible.
“What are you?”
Looking at his martial arts, he was around the level of a first-rate warrior. At least captain level.
The man growled through the pain and his broken teeth.
“I’d rather take another punch!”
“You don’t answer the question despite knowing your position.”
“Why do you think I told you to come alone? My men are…”
Before he could even finish, a rumbling sound came from the entrance. Alongside the sound of something being dragged, Sima Young and Cho Sung-won entered.
They were dragging along three masked men with them, all unconscious. Sima Young then said to me,
“There were only three people, vice-commander.”
At her words, the boy looked shocked.
This boy was an imbecile.
Did he really think I would come alone just because he asked me to? Naturally, I would bring someone else to scout around if someone was acting suspicious. I thus asked these two to come along.
But the number of people they had beaten seemed too little. Cho Sung-won pointed at one of the fallen ones.
“These ones are first-rate warriors.’
I believed it.
He thought bringing three first-rate warriors would have been enough to subdue me. Of course, if I was at the same level as them, I definitely would have been subdued.
I then told the one I’d subdued.
“Which side are you from?”
If he came with a human skin mask, he had to be participating in the tournament.
Considering that we are around a similar age, I can’t simply leave him. There was a high chance that he was a disciple of an Elder or a Blood Star.
“You think I will tell? If you don’t release me, the lady will…”
Sima Young slapped him on the cheek. Her actions were always quicker than her words.
“Answer what the vice commander asks.”
“You, how dare…”
She added another slap. As the boy was raging with anger, Sima Young grabbed his hand.
While I wondered what she would do next, she held on to his index finger and said.
“From now on, every time you don’t answer, I will pull one nail out.”
His expression became twisted.
“D-do you think I will succumb to such threats?”
I covered his mouth as Sima Young pulled out a nail.
Threats and torture were necessary during certain instances, but she was always ready for them whenever it was needed.
She suddenly was holding a nail.
Cho Sung-won, who was standing behind us, turned his head.
“Ugh… even if you do this to me, the lady will later…”
Sima Young pulled out his middle fingernail. Tears were flowing down his face now as he groaned in pain. Right, having your nails pulled out was the worst.
“Ahhh. I am sorry. Her actions are faster than my words.”
“Now, will you answer?
The effect that this torture had was immense. His eyes moved around at an insane speed from the pain.
I then take my hand off his mouth and ask.
“Haa… Hahh…second disciple of the Fifth Blood Star.”
The Fifth Blood Star?
Was he talking about Hwang Kwang?
I heard that he was a warrior that excelled in close combat. However, as a low-level spy, I never once managed to get to meet him.
“Be honest, did Miss Baek Hye-hyang send you?”
At this question, his eyes fluttered.
I knew it wasn’t her order because she told me she wanted me to warm her bed. However, it wasn’t right for me to jump to conclusions.
“I don’t hear an answer.”
Sima Young began moving to remove another nail, scaring the boy into speaking.
“No! The lady only asked me to watch you.”
This was expected too.
But only keeping an eye on me sounded strange.
“Then why did you make such a threat?”
“T-that… uhhh. I will speak, so stop pulling!”
Sima Young was ready to pull another nail out if the reply was even a little late.
“S-sahyung asked me to do it. The lady ordered no one to touch or kill you, so he sent me here.”
I don’t understand this.
They were going against the orders of their leader, Baek Hye-hyang. Of course, these nonsensical threats would never work on us, and they had to do something to ensure getting the weapon from the tournament. However, this all seemed a bit too much.
“You were aiming at our vice commander for that reason!?”
Sima Young pulled out a nail again.
“Kuak! I answered!”
I covered his mouth.
No matter how painful it was, this boy was stupider than I expected. If he was the disciple of the Fifth Blood Star, he should have gritted his teeth instead of screaming.
I then asked him.
“You… actually know, right?”
There was no way he wouldn’t have known.
He was someone who didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him. There was no clear reason to come after me.
“Now your thumb is the only thing left.”
Sima Young gave him her warning as he said.
“The fact that the lady wanted you as her husband was overheard!”
Sima Young’s eyes became wide at those words. Ahhh, this was insane.
I hadn’t told anyone that Baek Hye-hyang had wanted this. Yet this man blurted it out just because he was afraid.
“Vice commander… you didn’t tell us everything.”
“Kuaaak! W-why! Uhh!”
I covered his mouth again. This time she pulled out a nail even when it was no longer needed.
“No. I didn’t say anything because it was nonsense.”
I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t even look at her because I felt like I was making excuses.
“This is why that woman came after the vice commander.”
As Sima Young clenched her fist, the sound of bones being broken filled the air.
Looking at her eyes, it looked like she would kill him right away if I left her alone. Sima Young then touched the man.
The guy twisted his body with a bewildered face.
“What are you doing?”
She responded to my question with the coldest voice.
“They are aiming for someone else’s thing, so they must be killed.”
What do you mean by someone else’s thing? I became more perplexed at her voice as Iron Sword said to me.
-It is the suffering caused by women.
That only upsets me more! I held her wrist and pulled her away from the man. She responded by pouting.
“Why? They are aiming for the vice commander!”
“You don’t have to kill.”
Sima Young didn’t seem to understand those words.
The boy, frightened by my words, managed to calm down a little.
This wasn’t something he could be relaxed about. I think I know some people in the sect.
If we killed him now, all we would be doing was asking for his sahyung to come to look for vengeance.
Inside a manor on the outskirts of the village.
Baek Hye-hyang sat cross-legged while fanning her forehead.
The expression on the faces of the four people in front of her wasn’t that great.
They were trembling as if they had committed a terrible sin.
‘Why aren’t we being helped?’
Someone lifted their head and looked at the young man standing in the back.
He said that would fix the situation, but now that they had come here, he said nothing! The young man had clear eyes and white skin.
He was Sang Hyun-myung, the first disciple of Hwang Kang.
He was annoyed that his plans had gone awry.
He was the one who wanted the Fourth Elder’s disciple to be killed.
If that was the case, he also wanted to ask why the lady Baek Hya-hyang was being deceived by that man. Therefore, that man had to be killed.
Sang Hyun-myung quietly turned.
[Stay still. Saying anything will not help us.]
Baek Hye-hyang’s anger was hard to handle, even for the First Blood Star. He might not even intervene in this scenario right now.
Baek Hye-hyang got up from her chair and slowly walked before opening her lips while looking at the kneeling men.
“I told you to just watch.”
“What should I do when the dog disobeys their owner?”
She closed her hand that held the fan. At that moment, one of the three people’s heads in front of her was cut.
Blood gushed out of the neck stump, and the head had a terrified expression.
“M-My lady. It wasn’t done on purpose. I just…”
Someone grabbed the head of another of the three and twisted it to the back.
His neck broke, and the boy fell. It was Sang Hyun-myung who decided to kill one of his own.
The last person was even more terrified now. One of the men who had been killed was his own sasuk!
At that moment, the tip of the fan touched Sang Hyun-myung’s neck as she moved close and asked.
“Who gave you permission to kill?”
Sang Hyun-myung immediately fell down to his knees and said.
“As if it wasn’t enough to break the orders given, they were making excuses which felt insulting to…”
Before he could even finish speaking, she kicked him in the face making him bleed from the nose, which looked broken.
He tried to get back up, but she kicked him in the chin again.
Sang Hyun-myung fell in pain from his jaw being crushed as she pressed him down with the fan.
“Dogs need to know how dogs act.”
It wasn’t even iron, but when the fan pierced his chest, it felt like a sword was being pushed in.
A little more, and he was sure to die.
‘W-will I die?’
Sang Hyun-myung’s eyes fluttered at the thought of him possibly dying.
At that moment, the fan stopped.
“If it wasn’t for the tournament, this wouldn’t end here.”
With those words, she snorted and stood back up. Being four of the five participants from their side had saved their lives.
“W-we will keep it in mind.”
Sang Hyun-myung lowered his head to the ground. But his bowed face was as red as an asura.
‘So Wonhui… the lady’s chosen man should be me.’
His killing intent was fully directed at So Wonhui.
A day passed.
Now all of us were standing in front of the Murim Alliance’s castle.
Thousands of martial artists, sects, and clans were lined up.
The number of people there seemed to have easily exceeded a thousand. If we included those who had arrived and taken to their rooms, the number would easily exceed thousands.
Clans full of famous people were everywhere.
There were many clans that used swords, blades, great swords, and many other weapons.
The young man who had a mustache despite his age had to be Pang Woo-jin, the next head of the Nokhyun Palace.
He was a man who was quite rough in my memory. A man filled with anger.
If we move inside the castle, he will be there too, right?
‘… Moyong Soo’
-Ah… the guy who helped kill you before coming back?
Moyong Soo. Among those who were skilled, he was called the Twin Dragon.
I knew that he would participate here. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. If we move inside the castle, I might even see Baek Wei-hyang too, the fourth elder of the Murim Alliance
Even now, when I think of them, something soared from the depths of my heart. The moment will come when I will see them again.
My emotions began to rise.
At that time, Sima Young saw something and let out a sound of excitement.
The people of the Hubei Pang family.
Unlike the others waiting in line, they were checked in right away by the castle’s guards and sent inside.
“Isn’t this discrimination?”
At Sima Young’s words, I just shrugged.
Even within the Murim Alliance, there was differential treatment. There were five great families, and those with excellent fame would get the best treatment compared to normal groups and sects.
“It is nothing. We must wait.”
Song Jwa-baek pretended to know what was happening and said to Sima Young.
The Ikyang So and Jojo Song families also dominated the Hunan region, but their reputations were lacking compared to the Five Great Families. If one looked at the standards of the Murim Alliance, a family had to be within the middle to upper levels to be treated right.
Unless the warrior was highly skilled, then it is unlikely they would pass easily.
“We only need to wait an hour. In the meantime, I will talk to you, so you don’t get bored.”
That was true.
Song Jwa-baek still liked Sima Young.
On the other hand, he wasn’t the type to talk to her for a long time either. Either way, she wasn’t interested.
Pang Woo-jin of the Hubei Pang went in after a short amount of time. Some people saw that they were being given special treatment.
She said that while looking at Pang Woo-jin.
One of the warriors that guarded the Hubei Pang family looked over to us and ran over.
“Aren’t you the Ikyang So family’s young master and young master Ma Young?”
How did they know us?
When we answered, the warriors bowed to us.
“Murim Alliance’s warrior greets the descendants of the South Heavenly Swordsman.”
The buzz inevitably came.
“Descendant of the South Heavenly Swordsman?’
“Is he that man?”
In an instant, the eyes of everyone who were coming in all focused on Sima Young and me. Even the people of the Pang family who were being guided to the front stopped and looked at us. It was embarrassing to get so much attention.
“We were ordered to let you pass immediately. I will guide you.”
As the warrior called Po Mo called to us, some of the warriors handling the Hubei Pang family’s luggage came over to help with ours.
Sima Young, who had complained of unfair treatment, licked her lips. It seemed that she felt better after this treatment.
Song Jwa-baek hurriedly tried to get on board by getting Po Mo’s attention.
“You must be?”
“Song family’s Song Jwa-baek and Song Woo-hyun.”
He said their names while hoping for something, but the warrior simply shook his head.
“I apologize. But we didn’t get any information about this. You will have to stand in line and come in later.”
And this made him go pale.
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