Deputy Dan Pil-hoo wanted to follow the two of them immediately to see the duel end.
Mumu’s opponent was Shin Eui-gyeom, one of the Four Great Warriors and could be called one of the best of the current Murim.
A man who could be called the best swordsman. At first, he was sure that Mumu would be defeated. Dan Pil-hoo thought there was still a gap between a growing monster and the finished product.
But after seeing the change in Mumu, he wasn’t sure anymore.
‘That sword which Shin Eui-gyeom showed…’
Although the Invisible Sword didn’t have a shape, it was unusual to have such energy contained in it. Perhaps the man had attained some type of enlightenment?
More than anything else, he was curious about who would win with the changes on both sides. However, the situation seems to have changed now.
“Deputy! Please go and have a look.”
“We were told not to.”
“Is that really a refusal?”
“Huh. Let’s think about the academy first and lead the students here.”
At the headmaster’s urging, the deputy and the teachers reluctantly returned to work. However, even the students were all curious about the duel.
‘This is a mess.’
Without the faculty there, the students would all run to watch. Because of this, no one could go see the fight.
‘… The reason he had to move may be because he thought it was the right thing to do.’
Perhaps Mumu and Shin Eui-gyeom were considering the damage that could have happened. Anyway, the two senior staff members were still able to control the students.
The deputy then recalled—
Those things that Mumu always had on. He didn’t know why, but they were currently on the ground.
He thought he should keep them for Mumu instead of letting them become lost.
So he turned his head.
For a moment, he doubted his eyes. A white and hazy mist seemed to appear for a short time, and those iron bands suddenly vanished.
‘How is this happening?’
Shin Eui-gyeom’s right arm had been crushed.
Even before that, his forehead was already sunken in and injured. Even his arm was now like this. No matter how strong he was mentally, he couldn’t come to his senses.
Shin Eui-gyeom sighed.
‘Did he notice it?’
Mumu had crippled his right arm. The bones were shattered and muscles torn, ensuring that he would never be able to lift a sword again.
Well, the boy did what he said he would. He then noticed Mumu holding his left hand.
‘This is worse than it looks.’
With his right arm completely useless, his skills would go down.
As a result, any coordinated attack with the other Four Great Warriors was no longer possible.
Losing his left arm would also turn him into a real cripple. He wondered if Mumu had noticed his plan.
‘Is this retribution?’
If it had been noticed, then he couldn’t say anything.
It was because he, as an adult and a senior warrior, feared a child’s power and planned to do something deceptive.
He felt ashamed of himself.
‘More than anything. I…’
As his thoughts ran wild, he eventually accepted this. It felt like he was destined to die at Mumu’s hands. Losing both arms wouldn’t make much of a difference now.
Mumu’s hand gripped his left arm and clenched it.
Shin Eui-gyeom’s face heated up from the pain as Mumu asked.
“I want to ask you something.”
“I heard many things about my father from my friends.”
Mumu had learned many things about his father from Jin-hyuk and Mo Il-hwa.
His father’s life as a warrior was something that Mumu would never approve of, even if he wanted to.
He heard that to claim dominion over the whole of the central plains, his father had mercilessly killed people and warriors of other factions as well as innocent people.
After hearing all of this, Mumu changed his mind.
‘… I wish I didn’t know at all.’
That was his honest opinion.
His father, the most feared person of his era, was the opposite of himself, who was taught good things by his stepfather.
The more he learned about his real father, the more disappointed he felt.
Because of that, Mumu felt worried. Was it even right to seek revenge for such a person?
If one adhered to filial duty, seeking revenge was the correct choice. However, his father was someone who many people feared.
‘I don’t know.’
Even if he took revenge, there would be no end.
Jin-hyuk and Mo Il-hwa said that they would support him no matter what. However, if he had made this choice, he knew they would have to pretend to be fine even if they were not.
‘… Is this right?’
Mumu pondered this for a bit before deciding.
He would see and then judge for himself. He would hold them responsible for killing his father, but the final decision to kill them was something he would decide after meeting them.
‘I don’t think he is a bad person.’
It was a judgment that Mumu had made after seeing this man suffer. Even now, he couldn’t feel any resentment towards him.
So instead, he felt more worry.
He had accepted Shin Eui-gyeom’s idea because he thought he could meet all four of them at once, but now he had something to ask.
“I heard that you and the other three went to where my father was and killed everyone there…. Have you ever seen someone who could be my mother?”
It was about his mother.
He had heard many things about his father, but none of them could say anything about his real mother, as all of his siblings were half-siblings.
He wanted to know before he headed towards the Imperial Palace to meet Muil.
Since this man was there as they killed both of his parents, he wondered if he would know.
And Shin Eui-gyeom just looked at Mumu.
No matter who looked at him, people would immediately refer to Mumu as a handsome boy with an appearance that women would love.
Women of similar disposition were there at the time. The truth of what happened would likely shock him.
“… Do you know about your mother’s existence?”
“Yes. She should be the one that gave birth to me.”
At Mumu’s words, Shin Eui-gyeom became stiffer.
To prevent any potential resurgence of that evil, he had gone there personally and made sure to eliminate every guard and person he and the other warriors could find.
In the process, they had memories they couldn’t erase until now.
“Can you not think of anyone?”
“… There were many women.”
“And none of them looked like me?”
“When we reached the base, we were constantly fighting the men, and in the process, a few of our men went after a child called Mu Sam. He was believed to be that man’s successor, and a couple of women tried to protect and escape with the child.”
Mu Sam was mentioned here. Like what had been told, he died during the war.
“We were able to deal with everyone we encountered and entered the large castle and base…”
After a slight hesitation, Shin Eui-gyeom then said,
“… We killed everyone inside.”
At those words, Mumu’s hand, which had loosened, clenched tightly around Shin Eui-gyeom’s left arm.
Shin Eui-gyeom, who had lost his strength further, groaned in pain as he continued.
“W… we… searched all around the castle for anyone related to him. We then found several rooms with women.”
“Yes. There were many women and some crippled children too.”
“We were convinced that the children, whether in good health or crippled, were all children of that man. We decided to kill them, but the women stepped forward and begged us to let the children live.”
Mumu felt his face continue to become stiffer.
The thought of his mother being one of those women emotionally hurt him. He was trying very hard not to kill this man on the spot.
“And you just killed them?”
“We killed them. But they said things which were quite confusing as well.”
“… What does that mean?”
“They claimed they had been abandoned by their Lord, which was why they were begging for their children. They wouldn’t be of any use to the Lord, so they wished for the children to be spared.”
“We concluded that the children’s skeleton structure wasn’t optimal. Starting with the crippled children, they were useless to him.”
“… What do you mean?”
“The women there were not actually his women. Rather, they were just women he used to make a child he wanted that had the right level of skeletal structure and muscles.”
Mumu’s eyes darkened.
Did that mean that his mother was also someone who was treated as a baby-producing tool rather than a human?
However, he couldn’t believe everything this man was saying either. He could be making things up to make him hate his father more.
Mumu barely controlled himself.
“… Then you mean my mother wasn’t among them?”
“I don’t know. We killed them on the spot. Maybe one of them could have been your…?!”
Shin Eui-gyeom remembered something.
Come to think of it, there was a peculiar woman and a baby. Unlike the other women, she looked dignified.
Unlike the other women who begged for their lives, she had hidden constantly to ensure that her baby would be saved by someone while waiting for a change in the situation that would divert their attention.
[I am the woman of the man you fear, Hae Harang. I will give my life, so if you are people who would be called heroes, do not take a young life.]
The image of her last moments, as she died without losing her dignity even while being burned, was seared in his mind.
A strong maternal love that desired to save her child. A woman that was different from the others.
It was the first time the four of them had been moved by someone in that evil place. Their strong hearts had weakened.
Moreover, unlike the other women and children they had killed, it was difficult to go after this woman who had just given birth.
But there could be no exceptions.
[… Who will do it?]
It hadn’t been easy for anyone to step forward.
[I will do it.]
It was the Southern Blade of the Emperor.
A woman called Hae Harang and her child had died at his hand.
Shin Eui-gyeom looked at Mumu and denied it in his mind.
‘No. It cannot be.’
If that child had grown up, he would have been the same age as Mumu. However, the Southern Blade of the Emperor wasn’t the kind of a man to speak two things with one mouth.
Mumu then coldly asked.
“Why are you not talking?”
“There was a child your age, but that baby has to be dead. Then that woman cannot be your mother.”
“Then you don’t know who of the many is my mother.”
“… I am sorry. However, if you were outside the castle, maybe your mother wasn’t even there?”
At his words, Mumu stared intently at him. He then sighed.
“I would have liked it if that was it. But I am still angry at what you people did.”
“Even with your left arm being crippled, you don’t seem that remorseful.”
Shin Eui-gyeom’s screams echoed through the forest.
Shin Eui-gyeom screamed for a long time before eventually losing consciousness. Mumu, who was now finished, released his hand.
It must have been difficult for Mumu to fully control his anger after hearing those words.
His mind was complicated. What kind of existence was his father?
Muil, Mui, Musam… unlike them, children who weren’t perfect were abandoned.
Women were only used for bearing children.
‘… And I am just one of them?’
Mui, and even the other subordinates, didn’t know of his existence.
That said, he could have been a failure. He couldn’t rule out the chance of him being an abandoned child either. Thinking about this made him angry.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to control his anger.
Mumu’s muscles began to bulge and compress. It was as if each muscle was alive.
As the intensity of his emotions increased, the ground where Mumu stood began to crack and shake.
The bizarre phenomenon didn’t stop there.
Rocks and fragments of soil began floating up.
Mumu felt a strong heartbeat.
At that moment, everything around him stopped.
All of the visible boundaries began to break down with him as light and darkness swirled around him.
‘What is this?’
At that moment, Mumu felt a strong attraction to it.
The newly created boundary was trying to draw him into another space. He was trying to hold on, but Mumu’s body was gradually sucked into it.
It was then.
At that moment, someone entered the boundary and put something on his left wrist.
It was the band that controlled his strength.
As soon as the band was put on his wrist, the swirling light and darkness disappeared, and the broken boundary returned to its original state. Everything had stopped.
The floating bits of rock fell to the ground.
“If it was just a little later, it would have been a mess.”
A soft voice rang in his ear.
Mumu frowned and looked at the white-haired swordsman in front of him.
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