A long-term clan leader, Elder Cheong-su, had come as the ambassador of the seventeen leaders of Yulin’s Force of Justice.
He was actually one of those 17 leaders, 12th leader Cheong-su, from the Kongtong clan.
Amongst the Elders of Yulin, he was strong enough to stand alongside Poong Changwun, and was renowned for his strong and upright personality.
It was the reason why he was always invited to every Martial event in the Imperial palace.
‘If a leader of a Yulin clan and a person famous for his impartial justice confirms the origin of the corpses’ scars, then no one would disagree.’
Believing in the words of the middle aged man from the Blade God Six Martial clan, the Crown Prince Zhu Taiyoon had asked leader Cheong-su and the other members for their help in the investigation.
Cheong-su Jinin, a Yulin’s Elder who valued the ties they had with the Imperial family, had readily accepted the request.
Inspecting battle marks wasn’t a tough task for him, but he had wondered if the Demonic Cult would really do such a thing.
The Demonic Cult had been known to be diligent in their dealings, and unlike other clans, they weren’t men who would steal.
“Separate the bodies according to the scars’ locations on them.”
The eunuchs of the East Spear were the ones who had brought the Elder to the underground hall of the Royal Shrine.
About a hundred East Spear’s eunuchs had been brought in to move the bodies around.
The eunuchs continued to search and carry the bodies, and even though they were still on the first level, they had already found 59 of them.
‘They were supposed to be skilled.’
Just the sight of the red tattered clothes on the corpses shocked everyone.
It was their first time entering the hidden chambers of the Royal Shrine.
There had been rumors about the Guardians who protected the Imperial Palace, but no one had seen them until now, including the court ladies. The Guardians had always walked alongside the other officials of the Imperial Palace, but no one had known.
‘Well, it doesn’t matter. They were the holy sacrifice for the Emperor, and ended up offering their lives for a holy cause, huhu.’
If the Guardians had been wiped out, the East Spear’s position in the Imperial Palace would be more firmly established.
As the scale and efficiency of the Guardians had grown in recent years, East Spear had become worried about the division of power.
Someone had groaned, deeply in thought.
The group leader of the East Spear, frowned as he looked at the Yulin’s Elder who’d been checking the scars on the corpses.
A man as experienced as leader Cheong-su, appeared to be having a tough time.
‘What’s wrong with him?’
Curious, the group leader of the East Spear, looked at the corpse.
A body full of scars.
He, who was ignorant of the Demonic Cult’s arts, just assumed that what he’d seen were the scars left by Demonic Cult.
‘There seems to be no problem. What about the other bodies… huh?’
The eunuch’s pupils shook as he looked at the other corpses lying around him.
The wounds were very thin, and a sword mark that looked like a whip wound could be seen.
It was definitely a sword's wound.
His mouth hung agape with incredulity, as he looked at the other corpses.
The problem wasn’t that the marks which were like a whipping wound had been done by a sword, but something else he had just noticed.
‘Oh no. I need to stop the inspection right away!’
He was about to reach out to the Yulin’s Elder when he heard the eunuch standing guard at the entrance of the underground announce.
“We greet the Crown Prince!”
“We greet the Prince!”
The eunuch’s face went pale.
He'd known that the crown prince, Zhu Taiyoon, would be arriving at any time, but he had come faster than expected.
He had wanted to rush and stop them, but before he could even move, the Crown Prince Zhu Taiyoon approached leader Cheong-su.
‘Oh! What a mess!’
He knew what kind of personality Zhu Taiyoon had.
He was just a group leader of the East Spear, thus he couldn’t just block the prince’s path.
Realising that the situation was unfavourable, he sent a telepathic message to Admiral Lim in panic.
[Huhu, I see that you are doing well.]
[No, we have a problem! Admiral!]
[What problem would we have?]
The eunuch was about to relay what he had discovered, but before he could even speak, the embarrassing scream of Crown Prince Zhu Taiyoon entered his ears.
“Wh-what the hell is that supposed to mean? No! Impossible! Nonsense! That can’t be!”
‘Shit ! I was late.’
Elder Cheong-su had already reported it to the Crown Prince.
Before long, the reason behind the Crown Prince's shouting was announced.
“The traces on the corpses belong to the Blade God Six Martial Clan? What kind of bullshit is that???”
Hearing that, the eyes of the eunuch, the East Spear's group leader went wide.
That wasn’t what he was trying to say.
Admiral Lim, whose face went pale after hearing the news, looked over at the middle aged man from the Blade God Six Martial clan with anger burning in his eyes.
The middle aged man was also too confused to even think of how to react.
[Look here, Master Dogun! What is all this about?]
Admiral Lim asked him via telepathic message.
The middle aged man who was from the Blade God Six Martial clan had definitely said that all the preparations had been made.
If that was the case, then the scars on the bodies of the Guardians were supposed to be those of the Demonic Cult’s martial arts, but why was leader Cheong-su saying otherwise.
[You are a member of the Blade God Six Martial clan, right?]
[Yes, I am, but this can’t be happening!]
The middle-aged man, called Master Dogun, was also having a hard time understanding what was happening.
Before the plan had been initiated, Blood Master had relayed a message to him saying that everything was ready.
She was one of the top 6 most skilled Masters of the clan, she couldn’t have made such a mistake!
‘What is the meaning of this, Blood Master?’
Master Dogun stared at the eunuch and then at Admiral Lim.
Admiral Lim's eyes had changed drastically.
‘… nothing can be done.’
Admiral Lim had been in the Imperial Palace for more than 30 years.
He decided to stop urging Master Dogun to present a clarification.
Since the Elder had already revealed that the scars on the corpses were from the Blade God Six Martial Clan, Admiral Lim had immediately decided that Master Dogun should be abandoned, so that nothing could prove their relation to him.
Admiral Lim immediately sent a telepathic message to the group leader.
[Right away, abandon all plans we have with The Blade God Six Martial clan as well as this man next to me.]
Although the prince Zhu Taikhan and the Imperial Guards had no idea about the identity of the middle aged man, Admiral Lim knew too well that he should remove all the variables he could to save himself.
However, the eunuch was too troubled with another thought to even listen to that order.
[Admiral! That isn’t the problem. The corpses…]
Even before he could complete, the voice of leader Cheong-su, was heard loud and clear.
“And that's not everything, Your Highness. There are also scars of undulating swordsmanship on the corpses. A different one.”
Admiral Lim's eyes which were red in anger turned into absolute shock.
High Wave Sword.
It was a swordsmanship exclusively made for the eunuch’s by the teacher and former Admiral of East Spear,
As East Spear’s fame began to spread, their swordsmanship was being considered the primary art.
‘Wh-what does this mean?’
Shocked, Admiral Lim knelt in front of Zhu Taiyoon.
With a voice filled with despair, he uttered.
“No, Your Highness! That can’t beee!”
If the corpses inside the Royal Shrine had scars of High Wave Sword, then it meant that the eunuchs of the East Spear were also involved in the rebellion and had helped with killing the Guardians of the Imperial Palace.
Leader Cheong-su, the member of Yulin, spoke with a voice of regret.
“Huh, I looked at around 20 bodies. It is definitely high wave swordsmanship. Admiral.”
“Leader Cheong-su! It can’t be. How can…”
“Admiral… look at these corpses. I re-checked everything, but nothing else showed up. These marks were left by your men. I saw this art at the dance ceremony in the past.”
Not long ago, after the Imperial Palace’s event was over, the East Spear, West Spear and the Guards had demonstrated their swordsmanship in front of the elders of Yulin.
There was no way that someone with a reputation as great as leader Cheong-su's would not recognize it.
“That's everything. Your Highness.”
At the trembling voice of the Admiral, Crown Prince Zhu Taiyoon looked at him with anger boiling on his face.
Zhu Taiyoon's eyes were trembling.
In Zhu Taiyoon’s trembling eyes, the silently smiling face of Zhu Taikhan, the prince, could be seen.
He was the one who was supposed to have been caught in a trap.
What did they do wrong?
Why did the marks on the corpses change from that of the Demonic Cult's art to the Blade God Six Martial clan's and East Spear's arts?
Only one thing was certain.
With the testimony of Elder Cheong-su, the entire situation had turned against the Crown Prince and not Zhu Taikhan.
A trap that he, Crown Prince Zhu Taiyoon, had perfectly planned in order to ruin the Emperor's trust in his brother, had turned into a blade that threatens to cut his own neck.
“A conspiracy! This is a conspiracy!”
Crown prince Zhu Taiyoon shouted in a trembling voice.
There was no word he could think of besides conspiracy.
Laughing inwardly at his brother, Zhu Takihan straightened his back and spoke.
“You don't want His Majesty the Emperor to be disappointed with your act, do you? Brother Crown Prince?”
Zhu Taiyoon’s face paled.
If the Emperor Knew about this, the trust he had built up so far would crumble in an instant.
Everybody knew that East Spear was supporting him.
It wasn’t long until the coronation festival.
That would be the day the next heir to the throne would be appointed.
If the East Spear is involved in the murder of the Guardians, and in the stealing of the Imperial treasure, the trust of the Emperor in the Crown prince would shatter.
“You- it is your doing! You made this conspiracy to aim for the title of the heir, even though you were born at a later time!”
Zhu Taiyoon, who had lost his temper, began to shout.
It was completely natural for him to attack his brother.
Even if it was a conspiracy, if he couldn’t solve the situation right away, it would only take a turn for the worst.
“You must have done something to the bodies!”
It was then.
“I would like to explain.”
The mesmerizing voice of a woman was heard.
All who were present inside the hall, directed their gazes to the source of the voice.
From the level below, a woman then slowly appeared.
A woman wearing red armor with the Imperial design.
The alluring and mystical appearance of the flame that covered her from the waist down, made the eunuchs look like fools.
As soon as she entered, she knelt before the two princes.
Admiral Lim couldn’t hide his surprise at how quickly she moved.
She wasn’t just a mysterious woman, but a woman with skills outside his expectations.
Normally, people would be fascinated by her majestic beauty, but Zhu Taiyoon, who had been pushed into a corner, wanted answers.
“You, how dare you appear before the princes without being given permission!”
At those words, she showed them an identity badge that had been given to her by the Imperial Palace and gently spoke.
“Your Highness. I am called Guardian Ran-yeong, who has been charged with guarding the Royal Shrine of the Imperial palace.”
As she revealed her identity, Zhu Taiyoon lost his ability to speak.
A survivor amongst the Guardians had appeared.
“Th-that can’t be!”
It was hard to believe, so he snatched the identity tag she had shown, but on the tag, words were inscribed that said that she was the Emperor’s Guardian, and had been given the position by the Emperor himself.
Which meant that she was indeed the Guardian of the treasure.
He was shocked, but Admiral Lim seemed almost happy.
[Your Highness! We can benefit from this!]
Zhu Taiyoon, who couldn't understand Admiral Lim's point, looked at him with a puzzled expression.
The Admiral's eyes shone, as if an angel had fallen from heaven just for them.
[If this woman is the only survivor of the Guardians, then all the crimes can be passed onto the Blade God Six Martial clan!]
Zhu Taiyoon finally understood what he meant.
If thought about clearly, the ones who had attacked the Shrine were the masters of the Blade God Six Martial Clan.
If she said that, then the Crown Prince and East Spear would be cleared of suspicion.
‘Indeed! After all there is no law to call for our deaths!’
Thinking that he was safe, Zhu Taiyoon calmed down and asked Ran-yeong in a stern voice.
“Hm, let us know what happened, Guardian of the Shrine.”
At those words, she bowed her head to the ground and began crying.
“Your Highness! The treasure of the Imperial palace which I was ordered to protect was stolen by the rebelling eunuchs. Please punish me for not being able to stop them!”
Both Zhu Taiyoon and Admiral Lim were shocked.
What nonsense was she spouting?
Since she was the only surviving guardian, they'd thought that they would be in the safe zone!
But this turned into a situation where a dagger had been put on the neck of a patient running out of breath.
“Huh. Did you say that the eunuchs of East Spear were aiming for the Imperial treasure?”
Zhu Taikhan opened his mouth and spoke clearly enough for everyone to hear.
Accordingly, the members inside the hall began whispering about it.
All eyes turned towards the eunuchs with suspicion.
Because of one woman, everyone began to think that the eunuchs of East Spear were involved in the rebellion.
‘If, if this goes on, the East Spear will be charged with treason!’
Admiral Lim read the worst situation possible.
The only surviving woman of the Guardians, had testified that the East Spear had the Emperor’s treasure.
That was when someone sent a telepathic message.
[Admiral Lim! We have no other choice. We need to kill everyone in this place so word doesn't spread!]
It was Master Dogun of the Blade God Six Martial clan who had spoken.
Dogun had recognized how horrible the situation was turning out to be, and thought that the annihilation of witnesses was the only answer.
Fortunately, the underground was within the Royal Shrine.
‘Except for Yon Namgun, leader Cheong-su and that Guardian, everyone else can be defeated.’
Three skilled people, but the East Spear had excellent power.
Around 100 eunuchs were inside the underground, adding Master Dogun and Admiral Lim, subduing them was possible.
[If we kill them, the truth can be manipulated!]
Admiral Lim’s eyes shook after analyzing Master Dogun's suggestion.
The situation had already turned against them.
And if they did as he suggested, things would return to normal.
‘Decide quickly! There is no other way!’
Admiral Lim nodded before biting his red painted lips.
If the people who were present were allowed to leave, it would create hell for the East Spear.
Admiral Lim, who had come to this conclusion, shouted to the eunuchs.
“The Crown Prince has been tricked! Get rid of all these rebels and protect the Crown Prince!”
As soon as the orders fell, the eunuchs realized that they had walked into a trap and decided to get rid of the rebels.
At Admiral Lin's orders, the eunuchs drew their swords.
When the eunuchs suddenly looked ready to strike, leader Cheong-su, and the other men from his clan couldn’t hide their shock.
‘Shit! These men are going to kill everyone here!’
His heart was concerned with the fact that it was an underground cavity in the Royal Shrine.
But realizing what the East Spear was aiming at, he changed his stance.
“The people of justice need to protect the Prince from the masses of rebels!”
They were quick to figure out what had to be done.
If the prince Zhu Taikhan was murdered inside the underground, their clan would be regarded as the rebels.
When the situation turned out as he'd expected, Master Dogun decided to go all-in.
[Admiral Lim! Please take care of that Guardian! I will handle Yon Namgun!]
The martial arts of the female Guardian seemed strong.
She seemed to be a lot stronger than the others.
However, Master Dogun was skilled, so he might be able to overwhelm her, but he still didn't want to test his luck.
Suddenly, something unexpected happened.
Something sharp touched his right shoulder as he aimed for Southern Commander Yon Namgun.
Before he had even realized it, his right arm that had tried to draw his sword had fallen to the ground.
The pain struck late.
An ear-splitting scream left Master Dogun's throat.
As he turned around, the identity of the person standing behind him made him lose his mind.
“Kuaaak! B-Blood Master! Wh-why did you?”
The long haired woman then answered him.
“Do you still think that I am her?”
Surprisingly, the voice didn’t belong to a woman.
It was the low voice of a man, the bloodthirsty voice of a man who wanted to kill Master Dogun right away.
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