The headmaster was shocked as he looked at Dan Pil-hoo.
The atmosphere had been reversed after Dan Pil-hoo reported that all the guards had also died.
If it had only been a single person’s death, then it could have been used as an excuse to target Mumu and allowed the Imperial Palace to take advantage of many things.
That was, of course, because the first victim had been someone Mumu had hit. This, however, changed things.
Do Jeong-myung was sure.
This meant that Dan Pil-hoo used his own hands.
It wasn’t a move that would be considered decent, but it could be said that it needed to be done. After all, wasn’t a tree’s role to cover a smaller plant from the winds?
With the death of both Noh Ik-bong and the guards assigned to his dorm room, any suspicion they could cast on Mumu would become moot.
‘Deputy, you really…’
The headmaster then recalled the past.
Do Jeong-myung had spoken to the Southern Blade Emperor, who had invited him to the academy when it was established.
[Hong Hwang-Suk, Dan Pil-hoo is an ambitious person. He is silent now, but do you know how many people’s lives ended in the hands of the man and his dark ploys…]
[That is why he is eligible.]
[As evil collapses, the era for the Forces of Justice has come, but we don’t know how long it will last.]
[He was someone who stepped into the dirty water. If it is that person’s skills, then he will greatly help this academy no matter what happens.]
That man’s foresight ended up being right.
Dan Pil-hoo wasn’t someone who just followed along with the righteousness of his peers. His actions now could only be made by someone who has seen the dark side of the world.
Yu Jin-sung looked at the man in admiration. They had all wondered what the man would do, but this was simply amazing.
[Do not step into dirty water. That is something I will do.]
He wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for those words.
Moreover, those words made him realize that Dan Pil-hoo had broken Oh Muyang’s trap.
Even Yu Jin-sung, who had a strong personality, wouldn’t be able to take that approach.
‘I shouldn’t intervene now.’
Yu Jin-sung understood why Dan Pil-hoo had told him those words. As of now, this matter was best left to those two people.
Oh Muyang continued to stare at Dan Pil-hoo without saying a word.
He knew that there were clever people in the various sects, but how could this man so easily accept his underhanded methods and even use them against him? This was truly shocking.
He hadn’t expected that all of the guards would end up dead. He had been extra cautious since he knew that he would be watched. Yet, when he looked away, his whole plan was thrown askew.
‘Using such tactics. Rather, this man is suitable to do such things.’
This man was a nuisance.
Thanks to this intervention, he could no longer demand Mumu be arrested. Instead, the situation had devolved into one where they would need to search for an unknown party.
“But supervisor. How is it that the officers are all encircling student Mumu?”
He just had to be asked this question.
Having said this, the deputy glanced at the headmaster as if seeking an answer.
“Ahh. Deputy. The supervisor was trying to have the student arrested because the physician said that the inspector died because of the wound he suffered from student Mumu’s attack.”
At those words from the headmaster, Dan Pil-hoo said loudly.
“Huh? What do you mean? Not just the inspector but all those guarding the room had died. How could a student kill an inspector at all? And how can the physician say such things?”
“What are you saying? This is a physician of the imperial family. Why would they lie?”
Dan Pil-hoo tilted his head.
“Then what did they see then? The physician of the palace must have seen all the guards injured and hurt. Why come here alone and try to capture one student? Maybe they are involved with the spies….”
Flustered, Oh Muyang stopped the physician, who looked shocked, from speaking.
Any more words and they would end up caught in this messy situation.
Oh Muyang was angry. This person was clearly more skilled in this than he was.
The situation had changed. The people there were already doubting them, so there was nothing he could do.
If he said something now, it would be as if they were using Noh Ik-bong for their own gains.
‘We cannot do anything.’
Oh Muyang glanced over at the unconscious Kang Mui.
He wanted Kang Mui to feel indebted to him, but he couldn’t risk his freedom for it.
Oh Muyang licked his lips and said.
“Arrest the physician Jong Gak right now!”
As soon as those words exited his lips, the guards who were around Mumu went around the physician instead and arrested him.
The man looked shocked, but one look at Oh Muyang’s cold eyes made him decide that it would be better to accept the arrest.
Do Jeong-myung moved forward and asked.
“Why are you arresting him?”
“He tried to give me false information, all to target an innocent student. It could even be suspected that he is on the side of spies, so I plan to arrest and investigate him.”
‘Look at him!’
The headmaster clicked his tongue. This man wasn’t a good person.
With so much attention around them, Oh Muyang didn’t want to push ahead. Then Dan Pil-hoo touched his beard.
“I think the dignity of the officer is at stake now. Usually, in such a situation, whether they committed a crime or not, they would complain about injustice or try to explain. However, when the supervisor made eye contact with the physician, he didn’t even talk.”
It was made to sound like a compliment but was clearly sarcastic.
It was intentionally done to mess with Oh Muyang.
And Oh Muyang became angry at that provocation.
‘That crazy dog comes all this way to bite.’
‘Dan Pil-hoo… I thought he would let go of this.’
They had a brief conversation with just their eyes.
Oh Muyang snorted and left with his officers in tow.
Yu Jin-sung also followed them as he was part of the investigation unit. But, before he left, he made a request to the deputy.
“During the pursuit of a suspicious student, a student named Hae-ryang was seriously injured. First of all, the child will need guards around the room. My brother and his friend are there now. I hope the deputy helps them.”
Dan Pil-hoo was a bit shocked at this.
This clearly meant that enemies were lurking all around the academy. He nodded his assent and said,
“Do not worry. Rather, will you be alright?”
He was concerned about Yu Jin-sung. He knew Oh Muyang was planning things.
All of the other officers and inspectors were on one team.
Looking at the situation, Yu Jin-sung was the obvious outlier. His situation was like putting one’s head into a snake’s mouth.
“It will be hard to stay between them.”
“Don’t worry about me, sir. Rather, please look after my brothers.”
With that request made, Yu Jin-sung left the clearing.
After he left, Dan Pil-hoo looked at Mumu with a puzzled expression. The reason he had done a dirty thing after such a long time was because he was afraid that Mumu would end up fighting the officials with his strength.
But what is the reason for that child to have such a troubled face?
‘…did he eat something wrong in the morning?’
The headmaster sighed as he looked at Dan Pil-hoo, who was sitting on the other side.
After what had happened, they were told of the details regarding Kang Mui and the old building’s collapse by Tang So-so, Mumu, and Master Dan Baek-yeon.
It came to light that Young Chun’s death was likely related to those who perpetrated the arson.
“I am sorry for not telling you in advance.”
The deputy apologized, making the headmaster shake his head.
“I would have done the same. If there are spies within the academy, they need to be sought out. It is natural to want the information to be with minimal people.”
“Thank you for saying that.”
“But we were faced with such a difficult situation, all to find out the spy was among the students.”
It was harder to trace students compared to teachers.
Unlike the teachers, who were recruited, the students were all here on merit, regardless of their status.
The enemy took advantage of that and joined through the entrance test.
“Can I ask for a favor from the headmaster?”
“Leave this situation to me.”
“To the deputy?”
“Yes. With this incident, the Imperial Palace has clearly indicated its intention to intervene. If there are spies within the students, it is meaningless to respond according to rules.”
It was a difficult statement to deny.
Although he had said that the rules were meaningless now, the headmaster could see the deputy’s true intentions. He was indirectly saying that the procedure he had used so far was wrong.
‘Is it truly necessary to resort to dark ploys?’
Both the Imperial Palace and the unknown spies had schemed against the academy.
Perhaps the most suitable person to deal with all this was indeed Dan Pil-hoo, who had been known for his usage of assassinations and underhanded tactics.
The headmaster clasped his hands and said.
“I will entrust this task over to you, deputy.”
“I will do my best to bring you good results.”
Dan Pil-hoo raised his hand and answered. This way, at least one of Mumu’s requests could be fulfilled.
[Deputy, can you leave something to me? That is, to get information from Kang Mui?]
He didn’t know why the boy had requested the job, but it seemed like something was going on between the two. And so, he decided to entrust the duty to Mumu.
He didn’t know what was happening there, but Mumu had the strength to control Kang Mui if a problem arose.
‘Mumu. You need to hurry.’
Although he had entrusted such an important duty to Mumu, they needed to get Kang Mui to confess to Young Chun’s murder before the Eastern River Sword came to the academy.
‘If you can do that, then I can execute my own plans.’
That was the issue that had to be dealt with urgently.
It wasn’t just for Mumu that he asked the investigation to be left to him. Deputy Dan Pil-hoo smiled.
Mumu’s expression darkened as he saw Hae-ryang, who hadn’t yet regained consciousness. He didn’t think that following Ha-ryun would bring this on him.
If he had known, he wouldn’t have let this happen.
“It is my fault.”
Jin-hyuk put his hand on Mumu’s shoulder.
“It isn’t your fault alone. It is a responsibility we all have to take.”
“Right. It isn’t your fault. If we are assigning blame, even I agreed to have Ha-ryun be followed, so it will be my fault too.”
Mo Il-hwa tried to comfort Mumu.
Since she felt bad about her decision, she also knew what Mumu was going through. The situation in which their friend’s life could be in danger was a bitter thought.
Looking at the paper, Mo Il-hwa said.
“Do not be too depressed. Let’s put our heads together and find out who the culprit is. That way, we can avenge Hae-ryang and catch the real culprit behind the murder of Young Chun too.”
“What is this?”
“These are the characters Hae-ryang left before he passed out. I think he was trying to tell us something.”
Mumu then looked at the paper.
‘Jade plaque? X? Ilhyun?’
Mumu’s eyes looked at the words’ jade plaque,’ had Hae-ryang wanted to convey that the man chasing him also had a jade plaque?
Mumu fiddled with the one in his pocket.
‘Am I really… related to them?’
Because of these hints, he had thought for a moment to bring this up with Jin-hyuk and Mo Il-hwa. Unaware of his thoughts, Mo Il-hwa said.
“I don’t know what jade plaque means, but the next character meant assassin. The other characters also indicated that the person who was after him was from our dorm. However, the name Ilhyun doesn’t belong to anyone we know. We also checked to see if there was a student here with that name, but nothing came up.”
“I think it might be an abbreviation he made due to being too exhausted?”
Mumu tilted his head at Jin-hyuk’s words. Why did Hae-ryang have to write Ilhyun?
Mo Il-hwa frowned as she repeated the words.
“Assassin… North Heavenly Dorm… Ilhyun… just what is he trying to tell us? Il…”
And then her nose itched.
At that moment, both brothers said.
“Couldn’t it mean the first floor? (Il could mean 1st, and Hyun would be a name).”
“I think we need to separate the words?”
The two looked at each other. They had both realized the same thing.
Mo Il-hwa’s eyes widened, and she looked at the list of students in the dorm. She then went through each of the first-floor students.
“1st floor… Hyun… hyun… Ja Muk-hyun!”
She smiled. This man was the only one with that name on the first floor of the dorm.
“Ja Muk-hyun. It has to be that guy.”
At Mo Il-hwa’s words, Mumu remembered something.
“Ah… now that you say it, Ja Muk-hyun was the…. The senior who had Master Sa Muheo in charge of him.”
This was the information he got from No. 2. Mo Il-hwa clapped her hands and said.
“No more additional perspectives needed then. If the clue left by Hae-ryang is about the disciple who worked under Master Sa Muheo, who was behind the arson. Then it has to be Ja Muk-hyun who tried to kill him.”
Yu Jin-hyuk jumped up.
“I don’t know what the jade plaque is, but now that we know the culprit’s identity, we have to catch him.”
Mumu then grabbed Jin-hyuk’s sleeves to catch his attention. He then reached inside his pocket and pulled something out.
“Before that, I have to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
After a moment of hesitation, Mumu pulled them out. They were the jade plaques that belonged to both Kang Mui and himself.
“I think this is the jade plaque Hae-ryang was talking about.”
Mo Il-hwa and Jin-hyuk were shocked at this unexpected sight.
In the academy prison,
Sa Muheo was lying down when he heard the sound of something moving. When he opened his eyes, he saw Dan Pil-hoo coming into his cell.
“Is this the last time you are coming to see my face?”
The Deputy’s eyes were cold. Seeing this, Sa Muheo laughed.
Dan Pil-hoo was still angry as his subordinates had died at this man’s hands.
But now, he could do nothing as Wang Zhen, a royal family member, asked the criminal to be transferred to him.
He wanted revenge during the interrogation, but it was too late.
“You cooked up something nice.”
At Dan Pil-hoo’s words, the man didn’t answer. Looking at him staying silent, the deputy snorted.
He then placed his palm under Sa Muheo’s navel.
He looked a bit shocked for a second. That part of the body was where the dantian was located.
“Now what are…”
The deputy covered Sa Muheo’s mouth with his other hand.
Dan Pil-hoo smiled as he said.
“I did tell you. It would be good to be prepared.”
“Did you think I would let you leave just like this? His Majesty did ask for a criminal but said nothing about leaving their dantian untouched.”
As soon as those words were uttered, Dan Pil-hoo’s fingers dug into Sa Muheo’s stomach. The latter’s eyes widened as if they would explode.
As Sa Muheo writhed in agony, Dan Pil-hoo continued
“You touched the wrong person. I will tell you. I will catch all the bastards related to you and slaughter them all.”
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