Chapter 91 - Brothers (1)

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The Heavenly Martial Arts Academy guards were escorting the procession with eyes that betrayed their tenseness.

The procession was none other than the officials that were dispatched from the Imperial Palace. Since the academy hadn’t received any word that they were coming, they couldn’t help but stay silent and uncomfortable at the sight of the imperial officials.

Whether they were conscious or not about the reaction of their hosts, Oh Muyang, who was walking at the front, looked at a man who seemed to be in his late twenties.

“This is quite a welcome.”

“Hahaha. How can you say that?”

Oh Muyang knew that this would be their reaction. For the academy, the intervention of the palace wasn’t pleasant.

A member of the procession, Noh Ik-bong, looked around and asked.

“I wondered if I would see any pretty female students, but I don’t see a single one.”

“Well. It is still early. It is the time for them to eat and prepare for the day.”

The man answering was none other than Yu Jin-sung, who had been a student here in the past.

“Ah, is that so?”

Noh Ik-bong’s voice was quite different from how he talked with Oh Muyang.

It seemed like there was a strained relationship there.

Noh Ik-bong had officially entered through the general exam, which happened once every four years. In contrast, Yu Jin-sung entered two years earlier due to his privilege of attending this academy.

So, for Noh Ik-bong, this man’s existence was undesirable.

“That is unfortunate.”

“Look at this man. Are you sad you don’t see any female students?”

Noh Ik-bong smiled at Oh Muyang’s words.

“It is what it is. Where in the world is a man who doesn’t like beauty and sensuality? Ha, well, there are people like him.”

Noh Ik-bong glanced at Yu Jin-sung and smiled. As if used to such comments, Yu Jin-sung didn’t even give a reaction.

And this stimulated Noh Ik-bong even more.

“Well, beauty is a joke, but I was curious to know what the level of the students here are like.”

“What can you be so curious about? Don’t we already have one on our side?”

Oh Muyang pointed to Yu Jin-sung with his head and Noh Ik-bong smiled and said.

“One person’s skills do not represent the entire academy. Everywhere you go, there are bound to be people who are weak.”

At his words, Oh Muyang smiled. Quite a few people denied the greatness of the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy in the palace and offices.

Noh Ik-bong was one of them.

‘I guess I wasn’t warned about Noh Ik-bong for nothing.’

Usually, an investigation requires just one supervisor and one inspector.

However, Noh Ik-bong was suddenly added as a supervisor while he was instructed to do something else.

‘Maybe they are trying to observe how things are being done around here.’

In the wake of the incident 17 years ago, the Imperial Palace also made its own academy and trained numerous people in secret.

Although only a few people knew about it, Noh Ik-bong resulted from that secret program.

Noh Ik-bong continued to provoke Yu Jin-sung even after becoming an inspector, but there was no real friction between them.

It was because Yu Jin-sung was smart enough to not fall for Noh Ik-bong’s provocations.

However, it was their first time working together, so Oh Muyang was unsure how this would end.

“Ah! Come to think of it, aren’t your younger brothers students here?”

“…”

At those words, Yu Jin-sung’s expression changed slightly. Seeing this, Noh Ik-bong smiled.

No matter how emotionless one tried to look, they could not stay like that when it came to blood.

---

In the office room in the main building of the academy.

The headmaster, Do Jeong-myung, and deputy, Dan Pil-hoo, were seated side by side. On the other side were supervisor Oh Muyang and royal inspector Yu Jin-sung.

They had already greeted them at the entrance, so they knew who they were. Unlike when they met outside, the atmosphere in the room was quite heavy.

‘They arrived quite quickly.’

Deputy Dan Pil-hoo clicked his tongue.

He heard from Do Jeong-myung that an investigator would come from the Imperial Palace’s inspectorate, but this was too fast.

It was as if they had been sent to intervene with their own investigation.

‘Are they looking for flaws?’

Their purpose was obvious. Although the previous emperor had recognized the contribution of the Southern Blade Emperor and the academy, many people within the palace didn’t like it.

There were several occasions when they argued that the academy should be below the palace and not on par.

‘It is like trying to find a cause.’

Would they ever get a chance to conduct an investigation? Or would they prioritize finding faults and justifications to intervene?

It will be known for sure from this conversation.

Do Jeong-myung looked at Yu Jin-sung.

‘They were clever.’

They had sent this man. And the intent of the palace was clear.

If it was a normal minor accident, it would have been nice to see Yu Jin-sung, who had graduated from here. But this case was simply too large.

‘If this child is put on the case, the investigation should go without being biased, but if the investigation is even a little biased towards the academy, the backlash will be significant.’

Dan Pil-hoo, who glanced at Do Jeong-myung, exhaled.

Both had roughly grasped the situation. The reason Yu Jin-sung was sent here wasn’t due to his name or skills but to create a justification that the palace should not hire students from the academy as they would be biased toward it.

‘Well, they did use their heads nicely.’

The palace intended to use this crisis in the academy as a political tool. Dan Pil-hoo then tried to talk.

“Supervisor…”

“We exchanged greetings before, and this isn’t an expected situation, right?”

Oh Muyang looked at him and said this, leaving Dan Pil-hoo feeling puzzled.

“Supervisor, what do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know what happened, but before leaving the palace, I heard that the deputy was imprisoned for the accident.”

Dan Pil-hoo frowned. Was a spy from the palace planted here?

Until yesterday, he had been imprisoned, but he answered with a smile.

“Right. But the charges were dropped. And…”

“No, how could the charges be lifted overnight? And even if they were lifted, how can the accused even be cooperating with the investigation?”

“… what do you mean?”

Oh Muyang glanced to the side at the question.

Yu Jin-sung expressed a bit of shock and said,

“… in an investigation, those who have been accused in the case would be deprived of their authority to join in the process.”

“But the charges were cleared?”

“Even so, for the sake of a fair investigation, it is right to exclude the deputy.”

Dan Pil-hoo’s expression gradually changed. Of course, these people weren’t wrong, but they were saying that they didn’t want him to join the investigation. This was their attempt to weaken the academy’s authority.

At that moment, Do Jeong-myung said,

“But supervisor. This is not the inspectorate.”

That was a firm counter.

He couldn’t just hand over the initiative of the investigation to these people. As if he had been waiting for that response, Oh Muyang said.

“Huh. If we proceed with the investigation this way, it seems like the academy’s management would allow anyone who has been cleared of any charges to intervene. Can we call it a fair investigation then?”

“How can you…”

“Strictly speaking, there are many spies in the academy. We are suspicious of everyone in the academy, including the both of you. However, if you ask for one with previous charges to be involved… I don’t know what your intention is to make such a request.”

Do Jeong-myung frowned.

‘This is how you come out with your intentions?’

This was no collaborative effort but instead was an attempt to push the academy out of its own authority to investigate. Then Oh Muyang smiled.

‘This is something I always do.’

As thought by the headmaster, Oh Muyang was never planning to cooperate with the academy. And getting to this point wasn’t difficult either.

He thought it was already over when deputy Dan Pil-hoo, who had been previously charged, was brought for this meeting. Oh Muyang smiled.

“I want to see if the two of you agree with this. If so, for a proper investigation…”

At that time, Dan Pil-hoo cut off his words.

“What do we do about this? The investigation is no longer needed.”

“What?”

“We already caught the man behind the arson.”

At those words, Oh Muyang seemed a bit shocked

What was this now?

In order to secure their rights to investigate, they raced down from the palace within 2 days. But the academy already caught the man behind the crime?

At those words, Yu Jin-sung asked with a bright face.

“Is that true, deputy?”

“Yes. We have detained him and secured evidence that he was behind the arson. We can show you if you want.”

At those words, Oh Muyang’s face darkened. This was unexpected.

“Thank god. The longer the case goes, the harder it gets to catch the one behind it.”

On the other hand, Yu Jin-sung was happy. He also thought there could be a political conflict due to this case, so he had thought hard about how to handle the situation.

So he was glad this was resolved.

“But how did you catch the culprit?”

“…”

At those words, the academy heads went silent. They were hesitant to reveal this. However, Do Jeong-myung revealed it.

“A student caught him.”

“Uh?”

At those words, Yu Jin-sung looked confused.

The person in charge of the murder of elder Hang Yeon and the one behind the arson had been caught by a student?

Oh Muyang didn’t miss this chance.

“Does it make sense for a student to catch them? Even Elder Hang Yeon was known to have been taken down by the same man, right?”

“Right.”

“And such a strong person who killed the elder was taken down by a student who would be nothing more than an ant to the culprit.”

At this, Yu Jin-sung couldn’t even choose a side.

Oh Muyang was an expert when it came to finding loopholes, so he knew how skilled elder Hang Yeon was.

Except for Mak Cheong-un, who was known to be the best in the academy, no one else could deal with the elder. So a student handling the culprit was nonsense.

“Inspector Yu, what do you think? Is that possible?”

“…”

Yu Jin-sung didn’t answer.

If he said no, they were back to the start with the debate on who would investigate the case.

And if he said it was possible, then it would mean that they wasted their time and energy by coming all the way here. Worse, he could be accused of being biased toward the academy.

He was in a dilemma.

Dan Pil-hoo smiled and said.

“Supervisor, why not check it yourself if you doubt it?”

“Check it?”

“The student here isn’t a stranger but is one who is known to Yu Jin-sung here.”

At that, Oh Muyang frowned.

“What does that mean?”

“That student is the adopted child of the Yu family, Yu Mumu.”

‘!?’

---

Mumu came to meet the deputy.

However, Mumu was worried because the deputy was also talking with some guests.

‘Um.’

Would it be better to let him know now, or would coming back at a later time be better?

Today’s classes started in the afternoon, so he had time. While he was thinking, someone called him.

“Hey.”

Mumu looked around but could find no one.

“Me?”

“Yes. You.”

Mumu looked around. A person was sitting on the stairs wearing an official’s clothes. It was Noh Ik-bong.

A meeting was happening, so he had nothing else to do but wait on the stairs. So while he was looking around the building, he came across Mumu.

‘Now I see a student.’

He had been meaning to meet a student here. He was curious about the level of skills they had, so he thought a student coming here was a good chance.

“You’re a student here?”

Mumu nodded his head.

“Yes, why?”

Noh Ik-bong smiled at Mumu’s reply. He thought this would be fun.

He heard that students here had high academic abilities. However, looking at this student, he only looked like a second-rate warrior.

‘Just this much?’

He wanted to laugh.

If most students were of this level, then the palace wouldn’t need the academy to give them good students to employ.

‘There is no need to deal with a guy who is just a second-rate warrior.’

Noh Ik-bong thought this and waved his hand.

“Go.”

Mumu then tried to head down the stairs and make his way, but a guard came and found him instead.

“Student Yu Mumu?”

“Yes.”

Noh Ik-bong’s eyes shone at his name.

‘Yu Mumu?’

There was no way he wouldn’t recognize this name.

He knew all about Yu Jin-sung’s family.

Even if it hadn’t been useful, he thought this information would help when provoking Yu Jin-sung. The guard then continued.

“Come to the 5th-floor office. The deputy is looking for you.”

“Deputy?”

“Right. I was coming to look for you. Thank god I found you.”

The guard then went upstairs. What was this?

When Mumu tried to go up, Noh Ik-bong blocked his path. Mumu tried to go from the other side, but he was again stopped.

“… I need to pass by.”

At Mumu’s words, Noh Ik-bong smiled.

“Yu Mumu, was it?”

“Yes?”

“… you would be Yu Jin-sung’s younger brother?”

“… you know Yu Jin-sung hyung (brother)?”

“That’s right. I know him very well.”

With that, he put his hand on Mumu’s right shoulder.

‘If I make this guy’s arm useless for the rest of his life, then Yu Jin-sung’s crumbling expression would be a treat to watch.’

Clench!

Noh Ik-bong raised his internal energy, grabbed Mumu’s right shoulder, and tried to break it. When he attempted to do so, however…

‘Uh?’

What?

Why are the muscles this thick?

He is only a kid at the second-rate warrior level, so how does he have such thick shoulders?

No, they were tough to even move.

Mumu tilted his head and asked.

“Why are you rubbing my shoulder?”

“…”

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