‘The Lower District Sect is weak, but one hit from them is enough.’
Ha-ryun, who watched it all, was shocked.
Doing such a thing against a genius on his side was as if he was indicating that he wanted to keep going to the bitter end.
He didn’t understand where the explosives came from, but Hae-ryang was lucky.
While they exploded right in front of the man, the results were different.
‘The vision is blurred.’
As soon as the explosion happened in front of him, the man used internal energy to protect his body, but the intense light impaired his vision.
‘That isn’t doable unless it was thoroughly calculated for deception.’
The man bit his lip.
While he might have considered Hae-ryang as simply lucky, this was something that he was also good at. He was accustomed to running away from life-threatening situations to the point where they were no longer scary to him.
‘You underestimate me.’
He had been careless as people of the Lower District Sect were known to have weak martial arts. However, thinking about it from another point of view, there had to be a way for people of the Lower District to escape death like cockroaches.
‘To aim for sight and hearing is clever. But…’
The man mumbled to himself again and began checking for blood traces on the ground.
He had guessed the direction of escape from just blood drops on the ground, causing Ha-ryun to click his tongue. An explosion had blown up in front of his face. Surely the man had to be at least stunned?
‘The Demon Blood Clan raised a proper monster.’
Would the other boy be able to escape? Although he had temporarily bought time, their skills and abilities were different.
Additionally, the man wasn’t injured, while Hae-ryang wouldn’t have an easy time with his wound.
Hae-ryang was escaping using his footwork skills. As Ha-ryun had concluded, his vision was blurry from the explosion.
Somehow, he was trying to reach a crowded place or somewhere where his friends were to share the information he had gotten.
‘This is difficult.’
The wound was moist with blood, and yet his goal was still to live a long life.
The space in front of the North Heavenly Dorm was noisy with the chatter of students. In particular, the female students were particularly raucous at a single person’s arrival.
One person had arrived at the dorm and was the sole contributor to the large number of female students congregating there.
It was Jin-sung, an alumnus who had graduated from the academy.
“Ahh! It is Jin-sung!”
“To see sir Jin-sung while alive.”
“This is the honour of my family.”
His popularity had soared beyond words, and all the students looked at him in awe and cheered like a gaggle of excited girls.
They would even clutch their chests if Jin-sung met their gaze.
This was how much of an idol he was for them.
‘… This is an academy,’
Jin-hyuk stuck out his tongue.
Ever since his brother had become an official, his name was widely known all over the land. That was also why many women had come by their house to look for him.
That resulted in his brother asking for a change in his work posting, saying he didn’t want to be a nuisance to his family.
‘This is a familiar scene.’
While most of this didn’t feel strange to him, there were a couple of things which felt new.
It was quite difficult to adapt to Mo Il-hwa, who was twisting her body while flipping her hair. She wasn’t trying to be fussy like she would usually.
She was pretending to be a noble young lady now.
‘So… it is true.’
He knew that she was a bit shy when it came to his brother. He knew it wasn’t a big deal, but seeing her like this, why was he feeling so regretful?
Jin-hyuk, who felt confused by his new emotions, opened his mouth.
“You must be busy. Are you overworked?”
“I just wanted to see your face for a moment.”
“We can just meet at home.”
Seeing Jin-hyuk say this, his brother smiled, took out an ornament from his sleeve, and gave it to him.
“Then I couldn’t have given this to you.”
“What is this?”
“It’s something I commissioned from an imperial craftsman. A symbol of our brotherhood.”
Jin-hyuk felt a bit shy at this present. Why was his brother acting like this?
He took the present given to him, but the eyes looking at them from all around made him feel embarrassed.
At that time, Mo Il-hwa coughed and gently touched Jin-hyuk. It was a silent symbol asking him to introduce her.
Jin-hyuk didn’t like doing things like this because it happened too many times at home. He reluctantly spoke, however, as he was close to her.
“Hyung… this is Miss Mo II-hwa.”
“Ahh. You are the daughter of Official Mo. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
Jin-sung immediately recognized her once he heard her name. Jin-hyuk was a bit shocked. His brother seemed to be fully informed about the people around the Imperial Palace.
“Oh my. Sir Jin-sung knows me.”
Mo Il-hwa couldn’t hide her joy as she patted her red cheeks. On the other hand, the female students around Jin-sung also seemed happy at the sight of him.
‘Is it that amazing?’
Well, this guy had increased the academy’s reputation among the people. So it was natural for people to give him this much admiration.
‘I think they fit together well.’
Jin-sung, his older brother, was also old enough to get married now.
From that point of view, if it was Mo Il-hwa, who he had known for a while, then she would be a good match. Still, why didn’t he like this situation? Jin-hyuk tried to make the two keep some distance.
Mo Il-hwa involuntarily looked over at Jin-hyuk’s face as he got between her and his brother. She, who had been interested in Jin-sung all this time, also felt strangely concerned about Jin-hyuk.
‘What? What is with that pouting face?’
Jin-sung smiled as he saw the two of them being conscious of each other.
“You look good.”
Jin-sung spoke to Jin-hyuk.
“He is still young, so please take care of him. Miss.”
“Yes? W-what was that?”
Mo Il-hwa hurriedly waved her hand. How long had she waited for this moment? And yet her target was pushing her away to another person.
Jin-sung whispered to her.
“He can be a bit cold, but he is a good person.”
“I-it isn’t like that! Uh!”
She covered her mouth as she ended up revealing her true intentions. She had wanted to show him only her pretty side, but she ended up acting like this.
This was like saying that she had some feelings for Jin-hyuk…, and then she made eye contact with him.
She gulped as her face turned red.
‘He made me become conscious of that guy for nothing. Sir Jin-sung, you are mean!’
She thought Jin-sung would be cold and calm like Jin-hyuk, but the guy also knew how to mess around.
Mo Il-hwa then said as she stroked her red cheeks.
“That is too much. I love Sir Jin-sung so much…”
At that moment, Jin-sung raised his hand and stopped her from speaking.
He did that before she could finish her words. Then Jin-sung moved somewhere.
Mo Il-hwa and Jin-hyuk were both puzzled at this and followed him.
Hae-ryang was lying down on the ground.
He had almost reached the dorm site, but his body wasn’t moving.
Hae-ryang, who had collapsed, shouted.
The voice which came out felt unnaturally soft and didn’t reach far. He was bleeding too much, and he had used what energy he had left to run away.
‘I… I am almost there.’
Hae-ryang was exhausted as he saw the dorm just through the bushes. A little further and he would meet his friends.
By now, someone who had training would have heard his shout.
‘Even if I didn’t dream of living a full life, I still want to live longer…’
Hae-ryang felt his vision go blurry. The loss of vision added to the unfairness that he felt at dying a death without achieving anything.
Hae-ryang moved his fingers which slowly went still.
At a distance, the man following him looked at Hae-ryang’s collapsed body. He hadn’t fully recovered yet, but he had no trouble seeing.
‘The wound is deep.’
The man smiled at this. Although he suffered a little, the first attack he landed was strong. A little further and Hae-ryang would have made it to the dorm. Seeing him collapse, however, indicated that he couldn’t stop the bleeding.
‘I can leave him like that to die, but I need to be sure.’
Nothing good came from leaving a task half-done. The moment that he was about to approach Hae-ryang, however.
The man looked around. There! His sense told him that someone was approaching rapidly.
For a moment, he wondered who it could be.
‘Are they trying to warn me?’
The quickly-approaching person felt skilled. They had deliberately let their presence known to show their arrival. It was a subtle warning.
‘Can’t help it then.’
The man took out a dagger from his sleeve, broke off the sharp blade and threw it to the already-collapsed Hae-ryang.
The thrown dagger appeared to hit Hae-ryang near his heart, and the man glanced at it before he vanished into the bushes.
Yu Jin-sung appeared from the rear of the North Heavenly Dorm. There he found the child lying on the ground.
His was the faint cry of help he had heard. It had been difficult to hear with the students around, but Jin-sung was skilled enough to hear it. He had also let off some energy to warn off any potential hostiles.
He clenched his teeth as he looked at the child.
He didn’t know who the opponent was, but they were clever. They had finished off their victim by throwing the blade edge of a dagger.
‘I was too late.’
Jin-sung then looked at where the dagger had pierced the boy. Blood was on the ground, but the dagger itself didn’t seem bloody, which made him look closer.
Something thick, resembling armour, was on Hae-ryang’s back. Thanks to that, the dagger didn’t penetrate through.
‘W-what is this…’
Looking closely, the boy had metal mesh armour all the way up to his head. He knew how to protect himself.
At that moment, Jin-hyuk and Mo Il-hwa also reached the location.
“Hyung? Why are you….ah!”
As the two spotted their collapsed friend, they ran to him.
“Someone you know?”
Jin-hyuk nodded his response to the question. He then looked over Hae-ryang’s condition.
They had been worried that something would happen after Hae-ryang followed Ha-ryun, and their fears had become a reality.
“H-he isn’t dead, right?”
Mo Il-hwa asked with tears in her eyes as Jin-sung shook his head.
“He passed out due to the heavy bleeding, but he is breathing. We can save him if we hurry.”
“Jin-hyuk, take the child to the infirmary.”
Jin-hyuk picked up his friend. He knew he had been asked to take Hae-ryang because his brother had a hunch about something.
“Hyung, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to go catch the person who made this child like… huh?”
At that moment, Jin-sung looked down at the ground and frowned.
Hae-ryang had written something there.
[Jade plaque? Assassin? Il-hyun?]
It was difficult to know what these words meant.
He could understand the meanings of both the jade plaque and the assassin, but the third statement had been written without strength. The writing was blurry and hard to discern, but it felt like the words meant something about dark and one.
“He left a message?”
Jin-sung then said to the two.
“For now, the child is in danger, so go quickly.”
Jin-hyuk carried Hae-ryang away quickly.
At the same time…
Three men and women broke into the old school building.
They were none other than Mumu, Tang So-so and Dan Baek-yeon.
Anti-poison that had been given out by Tang So-so was used to break in.
‘What am I doing?’
Mumu had suddenly asked for her help, and she followed him. Still, she didn’t think that the target was this old building.
Entry here was forbidden to everyone, including the masters, so she couldn’t sneak in, but she still came here with Mumu.
‘Ahh. I am going crazy.’
She usually would have coldly refused it, but Mumu was her weak spot! While she didn’t like it, she still agreed to it.
‘This is suspicious.’
The woman Mumu had borrowed poison from was clearly helping them, but Dan Baek-yeong didn’t like her.
[We have to check it out!]
When he said those words, she responded.
[T-then I guess we should go.]
Tang So-so knew that the master was looking at Mumu with the coldest look one could muster, but women couldn’t hide their feelings from other women.
‘No… it couldn’t be that, right?’
Still, it would be a relationship between teacher and student. And there was a clear 8 years age difference, but if that was true, then…
If she had a conscience, she wouldn’t be aiming for Mumu.
‘No matter how wild Mumu is, the age gap is a bit too much…’
Tang So-so’s eyes darkened. When it came to Mumu’s charm, she knew that women of any age could end up liking him.
Even Guyang Seorin and Ma Yeon-hwa seemed to be interested in Mumu, but this was too much. This woman looked twisted in her eyes.
‘Should I flirt with him?’
She felt like she had to show her charm to Mumu. Fortunately, compared to the master, she had more youthful skin.
‘Right. Just from the age and appearance…’
Tang So-so glanced at Dan Baek-yeon.
Although much older, the woman looked so beautiful that they both looked similar in age.
‘H-her insides must be rotten! She must be using her internal energy!’
Her eyes then turned towards the huge breasts that could be seen from the top of her clothing, which prompted Tang So-so to look down at hers.
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