Chapter 6 - The Exile Ends (3)

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Unable to get any clues about the man who turned everyone into squash, Prefect Jang had to return to the house, where the exiled man was.

It was difficult to associate the clue given to any warrior.

But what was certain is that the threat from the bandits had disappeared since the entire group was annihilated.

As soon as Prefect Jang arrived, he went to report it to Oh Ji-kang.

“Wh-really?”

“That’s right. It was coincidental, but we can just call it luck.”

“This seems to be because of the merit and luck that Yu Hakjeong accumulated. Hahaha.”

Oh Ji-kang said happily.

At those words, Yu Yeop-kyung sighed in relief.

However, there was one thing he was concerned about.

He turned his head and looked at his adopted son, Mumu.

Clap! Clap!

Mumu was applauding by saying that it went well.

Looking at that, Yu Yeop-kyung thought that something was wrong.

‘… he has the bands on, so there is no way he could have done it.’

It was impossible to guess how strong Mumu was.

However, he thought that he couldn’t do such a nonsensical thing even if his suppressed power was released.

But then, the sight of him uprooting a tree and throwing it came into his mind.

He was in denial, yet he was concerned.

“Chief Oh. If there is a great warrior out there, who is reluctant to get exposed, then we could be at risk too.”

“We have you on our side, Prefect Jang.”

“I, too, will be defeated in front of such a man. The opponent is someone who destroyed the base of the bandits with his bare hands.”

“Huh.”

If the man was giving such a strong warning, it meant that they had to listen.

But before they departed, there was one thing they had to do.

Oh Ji-kang waited for this day.

He wanted to tell Yu Yeop-kyung, who was naïve and virtuous enough to raise an abandoned child even after being exiled, the good news only he could deliver.

He pulled something out.

Yu Yeop-kyung’s eyes widened at that thing.

“Chief Oh. Th-That is?”

A scroll of ornate patterns tied with a gold thread.

“Yes.”

Chief Oh nodded.

It was a scroll on which the orders of His Majesty, the emperor, were written.

Oh Ji-kang opened the scroll and, with a solemn voice, began to read it.

“May this bring glory upon you.”

Thud!

As soon as those words were spoken, everyone fell flat on the floor, including Prefect Jang.

Yu Yeop-kyung, who was injured, knelt too.

“From the Emperor.”

The only one who didn't was Mumu.

Yu Yeop-kyung scolded his son in a hushed voice.

“Mumu, get down.”

“Why?”

“Everyone should bow in front of the imperial order.”

“Ah… imperial order.”

Mumu, too, knelt.

Then, Oh Ji-kang continued.

“Since a new nation has been brought into the Great Empire, how could we not celebrate this occasion! I will reduce this year’s taxes, and those who committed crimes will be pardoned, considering the severity.”

“Ahh!”

Yu Yeop-kyung’s voice trembled.

Although it was for the growth of the empire, he was being pardoned.

He couldn’t contain his joy as he had waited for this day to come for so long.

The day when he could finally return to his hometown and see his family.

“I will follow the orders of His Majesty, the Emperor.”

He said that as Oh Ji-kang rolled up the scroll.

“The order is done, so get up.”

At those words, everyone rose.

Oh Ji-kang congratulated Yu Yeop-kyung, who was staggering.

“I congratulate you, Yu Hakjeong.”

Yu Yeop-kyung was still in shock at what he heard.

“Chief Oh. Who was given the imperial order?”

It was impossible for a low chief to be given it.

If so, did Prefect Jang bring it?

They would hand it to someone higher than a prefect and pass it down, even if that was true.

At that, Oh Ji-kang spoke.

“I apologize. I didn’t mean to deceive you, but I just couldn’t tell you. There was never a situation where I could just come out and inform you.”

“By any chance… you are?”

Yu Yeop-kyung considered the man to be an official.

Oh Ji-kang smiled and said,

“You can speak comfortably.”

“How can I, who lost an official position, speak informally to an official?”

“Please, I hope that you will speak comfortably out of consideration for the friendship we have built over the years.”

“Huh. May I ask who you truly are?”

Yu Yeop-kyung didn’t refuse the request to be on friendly terms.

At Yu Yeop-kyung’s question, Oh Ji-kang took out a wooden plate from his arms and showed it to him.

On it was written.

Judicial Division of Punishment
4th rank officer, deputy Oh Ji-kang

Seeing that, Yu Yeop-kyung’s eyes widened.

It was the Judicial Division. It was an institution of the empire that governed the province.

And when it came to being a deputy in the institution, it could be said that he was second-in-command and directly under the main division.

He thought that Oh Ji-kang would be an official, but he was shocked when he realized that the man was a high-ranking official.

“Then, you weren’t a chief?”

There was no way he could speak comfortably to the man.

Oh Ji-kang waved his hands.

“I told you to speak comfortably.”

“How can I even do that? Even if we do that, a deputy is higher than a Hakjeong!”

“Huh. How can you put a scholar who worked in the best educational institution of the empire below an official who works in a province?”

“You are twisting my words.”

“I have respected you since the first time I met you. I came to you while pretending to be a chief only to build a friendship with you.”

“Chief…”

At those words, Yu Yeop-kyung was moved.

Now he could understand why the other officials stopped coming to check up on them 5 years ago.

It wasn’t because they forgot about him, but because an official of the Judicial Division was directly stopping by the exiled place.

Oh Ji-kang smiled.

He, too, had been waiting for this day.

‘Yu Hakjeong.’

His appointment in the province was by chance, and he personally checked on the exiled person.

And when he met the person, he fell in love with his personality.

How difficult it must have been for him to raise a child who has been abandoned by someone else, especially since it was a tough task for a bachelor.

Seeing Yu Yeop-kyung in emotional turmoil, Oh Ji-kang said.

“Now now. First of all, as Prefect Jang said, we need to move. By now, the news must have spread everywhere.”

“Huh?”

At those words, Yu Yeop-kyung looked wide-eyed.

Mumu felt better seeing his father.

It was his father who eagerly waited for his exile to end.


Yu Yeop-kyung and Mumu were on the move on the fifth day, too, while being escorted by Prefect Jang and the others.

Mumu, who was out of exile for the first time, was excited.

He lived his whole life looking at trees and mountains, but seeing plain land made him feel jittery.

Yu Yeop-kyung was happy to see his son enjoy it.

He was always concerned about his son, especially since the exile was in the mountains.

In truth, Mumu wasn’t even in exile.

After coming out for the first time in 17 years, Yu Yeop-kyung was excited too.

He was relieved from his frustration by listening to Oh Ji-kang talk about what had changed in the world.

And that evening.

For the night, the officers set up camp.

Mumu looked at his father and Oh Ji-kang, who were sitting in front of the bonfire chatting amongst themselves.

‘… father doesn’t spend time with me anymore.’

The first day or two was fine.

It has been 5 days since his father has been with Oh Ji-kang, and Mumu was getting bored.

The other people were all busy setting up the camp.

“Mumu. If there is nothing for you to do, help them.”

“Come on. Come and get firewood. You’re a man with power.”

“Ah.”

“You don’t have to answer in such a disinterested way.”

“Yes-yes.”

“You. Hahaha!”

At Mumu’s voice, the others laughed.

They had been seeing him since he was a child. For them, Mumu was like their young nephew.

So they could guess how Mumu was feeling.

A man touched Mumu on his forehead and said.

“Kid. If you’re bored, I told you to help these guys out. Why are you looking so gloomy?”

“I know that. My father isn’t acting fatherly towards me.”

“This kid…”

The people were shocked by that.

The father and son seemed to have an innocent relationship.

Usually, boys of Mumu’s age, even if they are close and respect their father, tend to be afraid of them.

However, Mumu thought of his father as more of a friend than a parent.

‘Because it was just the two of them.’

It seemed like the environment played a role.

Mumu, who grumbled that, moved and grabbed a handful of firewood and moved it.

Seeing that, the people were shocked.

“It’s as shocking as ever. Really.”

“I don’t even get it. He didn’t even learn martial arts. How can he be that strong!”

Normal men couldn’t lift that much.

Every time they saw it, the more amazing it was.

Mumu set the firewood down by the bonfire and asked.

“Uncles. I have wanted to ask this for a while. What exactly is martial arts?”

It was something he was curious about.

It was because of the bandits, who kept mentioning it and associating it with Mumu’s strength over and over again.

They all asked if Mumu had learned martial arts and whose disciple he was, but Mumu couldn’t understand it.

“Martial arts?”

“We don’t know about it either.”

“How can simple officers like us know that?”

“Martial arts is something that only Murim people learn, but I don’t know how much of that is the truth.”

The officers said.

Honestly, they didn’t know.

It was because martial arts wasn’t something that ordinary people could learn.

One officer said.

“Instead of us, ask Prefect Jang.”

“Right. Since Prefect Jang is from Murim, he should be able to answer your questions.”

At that, Mumu turned his head.

A little far away, he saw Prefect Jang, sitting alone and meditating.

For the past few nights, he was doing that alone.

Since Mumu had great eyesight, he would sometimes see Prefect Jang wielding his sword alone.

‘It looks like dancing, but is it a martial art?’

The movements were cool.

But he couldn’t understand why he moved like that.

“Go and ask.”

Mumu approached the man, who was meditating.

Prefect Jang, who was circulating energy with his eyes closed, felt someone approaching him.

Actually, he overheard their conversation to some extent.

“Mumu.”

“Prefect uncle”

“What is it?”

He knew what the kid was going to ask, but still, he asked.

“What is martial arts?”

“Martial arts… are you curious about it?”

“Yes. And I’m curious about what uncle is doing right now too.”

At that, he smiled.

He, too, was interested in Mumu.

The Mumu he saw working was definitely strong.

The firewood and any other heavy loads, Mumu would carry easily.

‘Those muscles.’

At that, Prefect Jang looked at Mumu’s body.

And he was shocked.

The body of a kid who hadn’t trained in martial arts was so greatly developed.

Even now, although his muscles weren’t as great as when he was working with those bands on his limbs, he could still see how defined the muscles on his body were.

He couldn’t understand how Mumu trained his body so much.

‘If only he was younger, I would have taken him as my disciple.’

Martial arts could be divided into internal energy and external energy usage.

But, Mumu was so developed physically that he would only need a little push to get into the field of internal energy.

However, that was a problem.

There is a limit to which internal energy can be learned, and if training wasn’t started from an early age, people would end up feeling their limit.

‘It will be difficult to break through the blockages.’

As the body grows older, the vessels that enable the circulation of internal energy develop blockages.

That is why Murim families make sure that internal energy training is started from a young age.

‘I feel bad for him. Still, he seems interested in martial arts, so should I try teaching him a bit?’

Unless Mumu was his formal disciple, he shouldn’t teach him lessons, but he could tell him the basics.

“Mumu. Martial arts means overcoming the body’s limitations by balancing the energies inside and outside of it. It can be said to be a kind of physical training.”

The kid was a child of a scholar who worked in the Imperial Academy.

He thought that Mumu would be able to understand it if he said it that way.

But Mumu tilted his head.

“Training?”

Mumu glanced up and down at Prefect Jang’s body.

At that, the prefect felt a bit embarrassed.

He couldn’t understand why the kid was looking at him with those eyes.

“Hmm. I see. My question has been solved. Thank you.”

Mumu bowed his head and thanked him.

“Wai-Wait up. Mumu.”

He called for Mumu.

“Yes?”

Something didn’t feel right to Prefect Jang.

It looked like the kid had lost interest in martial arts after looking at Prefect Jang’s physical condition.

It was a gaze that judged his body.

‘Sigh.’

He thought that he would have to show the child the majesty of martial arts.

No matter how hard a body is trained, there are limits.

And physical training alone could never overcome internal energy and its techniques.

“Mumu. I think this uncle wasn’t able to fully tell you about martial arts.”

“Is that so?”

“Showing is better than teaching, right? Come take a look.”

To showcase martial arts was the best choice.

Wielding a sword would be good, but a light footwork technique was the best to surprise people.

When light footwork was learned, one could learn much faster than normal people and even jump higher.

“Okay! I’m showing!”

Pak!

Prefect Jang, who gathered energy in his soles, moved.

And then lightly stepped on the trees.

Tatatak!

The officers who were watching couldn’t help but marvel at the sight of it, a man who climbed a huge tree in an instant and moved so lightly and elegantly.

“Woah!”

“How is he doing that?”

“It’s really great. Is that martial arts?”

This much show was enough.

He looked down from a tree and spoke to Mumu.

“Mumu-yah. Did you see it? This is called a light footwork technique. If this can be learned, then you can jump several feet…”

Thud!

It was then.

‘… uh?’

He and Mumu both looked into each other’s eyes at the same height.

‘!?’

Prefect Jang doubted his own eyes.

With one step, Mumu jumped to the top of the tree in an instant.

The mouths of the officers, who were shocked by the prefect and who were now shocked by Mumu, were agape.

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