Chapter 376 - The Imperial Escort (4)

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An Imperial Guardian; a hidden power that protected the Royal Shrine.

Even within the Imperial Palace, very few knew of her existence.

Only the Emperor and his commanders and a few admirals that protected him knew of her existence


The incarnation of the Qilin exists only for the sake of protecting the Imperial treasure.

Instead of protecting them, her flames were directed to the Guards.

‘It’s been twenty years since I last saw you.’

The Emperor seemed to remember something as he tried to maintain a calm expression.

The first time they'd met had been the day he inherited the throne.

As a young and energetic Emperor, he had fallen in love with her bewitching charming red hair that could never be seen in the outside world.

‘Her beauty is still there.’

It was astonishing that her mesmerizing beauty still remained.

However, from that day onwards, he stopped visiting her as he had learned that she had been protecting the treasure in the Royal Shrine since the foundation of the Empire.

“Do you realise the meaning of your actions? Guardian!”

Supreme Commander Baek Jagi shouted with a red face.

It was totally unacceptable that the hidden Power protecting the Imperial treasure was now backstabbing the Emperor.

“Imperial Guards' Supreme Commander. I have seen you before as a young soldier, and now you’ve gotten strong enough to yell at a woman.”


Although he was under the Emperor, he was still the highest-ranking official in the Imperial Guards.

Baek Jagi, who had been brought into the Northern Commander’s group because of his extensive field experience, quickly became a provincial commander at the young age of 34.


Baek Jagi was flustered by Ran-yeong's words and coughed.

He had met her for the first time the day he was appointed as a provincial commander, and a few embarrassing things had happened between them.

[This is funny, for a woman to be the strongest Guardian in the Imperial Palace.]


[Uhhhk! My uniform is on fire!]

He'd made fun of her, and Ran-yeong had burnt his uniform.

Those embarrassing memories rushed back into his mind.

“Why talk about the past! Guardian! It is treason! Protecting the Demonic Cult which is trying to hurt the Emperor is treason!”


The Supreme Commander had drawn his most treasured sword, which he almost never drew.

It was a famous sword whose sharpness increased, the stronger the opponent was.

When he saw the engraving on the sword’s body, Lee Hameng’s eyes lit up.

“Noble Warrior's Sword!”

Noble Warrior’s Sword.

This famous sword had been made by Ou Zhizi, a master craftsman from the Chu dynasty.

Although not made of cold steel, the swords made by him were known to be sharp enough to decapitate a horse's or a cow's head in a single stroke.


The Noble Warrior’s Sword released a bluish-black energy.

“I will punish you with the sword given to me by His Majesty.”

Baek jagi, who had garnered numerous achievements whilst subjugating the barbarians of the North during the former emperor's rule, was given one of the ten famous swords which were kept as properties of the Imperial family.

‘Hooh! That sword is the real thing.’

Even Lee Hameng, who rarely showed interest in such things, was clearly interested in this treasured sword.

On the other hand, Baek Jagi, who pulled out the sword, was staring intently into Ran-yeong’s eyes.

‘Guardian. I believe that you haven’t forgotten your eternal loyalty to His Majesty.’

The former emperor was very interested in martial arts.

He would often bring soldiers from the Imperial Palace to compete with Ran-yeong.

At that time, the Noble Warrior’s Sword was always brought into the underground shrine for those battles.

‘I don’t know what kind of trick they played on you, but please see the truth and come back to His Majesty's side'

That was Baek Jagi's real purpose.

To remind her of the memories and the loyalty she was supposed to show to the Empire.

He thought it was probably a lapse in her judgement that made her decide to turn her back on the Empire where she'd spent nearly two hundred years.



Baek Jagi jumped forwards and reached for Ran-yeong, who stood in front of Chun Yeowun.

Baek Jagi was now retired from active duty, but he still remained the Supreme Commander.

His splendid sword, which was emitting devastating energy, drew numerous rays in the air at the same time.

Cha! Cha! Cha! Cha! Cha!

They all contained the intent to cut her down.

The attack was supposed to strike her vertically, cutting her into two.

However, even as he approached, Ran-yeong didn’t move a single step.

‘This energy?’

The energy his sword exuded seemed familiar to her.

However, she knew that she couldn’t move from her position.


As she raised her right hand, a wall of flames soared into the air.

Despite his attack being so sophisticated, the sword rays disappeared immediately when blocked by the defensive wall made of flames.

‘You think that can stop me? How naive!’

Baek Jagi knew that her trick wouldn’t work.

His treasured Noble Warrior’s Sword cut through the flames, inching towards her neck.


Ran-yeong used her experience to catch the Supreme Commander's sword that was covered in bluish-black energy between her palms, which had been strengthened with internal energy.

‘Are you stopping it with your hands? Indeed, how monstrous!'

It would be a difficult fight, he had competed with her several times before but had never been able to defeat her.

However, the purpose of the Supreme Commander wasn’t to suppress her.

His goal was something else.

Baek Jagi spoke as he used his qi to push the sword.

“Guardian! Don’t you remember this technique? Didn’t you make it for His Majesty who carried this sword?”


The sword technique which the Supreme Commander had used, had been created by her.

By showing it to her, he wanted to make her remember the loyalty she had towards the Imperial family.

“Remember that moment.”

With those words, Baek Jagi’s eyes met with Ran-yeong’s.

The trembling sword in her hand stopped.


Baek Jagi’s eyes lit up thinking that he had achieved his goal.

At that very moment,


‘Broke... Ah!?’

The bright face of Baek Jagi, suddenly distorted.

The gift from His Majesty the Emperor, the legendary Noble Warrior’s Sword, which he treasured more than his own life, had been broken.

“My… myyyyyy sworrrrddddddd!”

As they followed the sword’s fragments which fell to the ground, Baek Jagi’s eyes were filled with despair, grief, and deep sorrow.

Ran-yeong’s annoyed voice then entered his ears.

“What was I supposed to remember? Don’t force your stupid memories on a woman you barely know.”

“You, you…”

Hweeing! Pang!


Before he could even say anything, the spear-shaped flame had struck his chest.

His body, which had been hit with the flame qi, was flung backwards as the qi pierced his chest.


“Supreme Commander!”

Yeongjo, the Northern Commander, caught him as he flew across the room.




He'd managed to catch the Supreme Commander, but the force of the attack was so strong that even his body was pushed back.

Even the best swordsman in the Imperial Palace couldn’t reach her level.

“Huh! In the end, you are no different from the other males who are obsessed with the past.”

For Ran-yeong, the memories in the shrine were never considered happy ones, she didn’t even consider them as memories.

It was just a period of psychological torture as she’d endured the severe loneliness of losing her fellow cult leaders, and kept her loyalty to complete the final order of her Lord.

She had already begun to forget all her pain as she was given new hopes, but this lowly man had just forced her to remember it.



White air began flowing from Baek Jagi’s mouth.

Even if he wanted to attack, his precious Noble Warrior’s Sword had been broken.

Furthermore, he had to focus on calming the fire that was burning into his organs.

As the Supreme Commander was wounded, Admiral Seo Tae-sik shouted whilst pointing his fingers at her.

“Guardian! Are you really going to betray His Majesty, the Emperor?”

“Betray? Who is betraying whom, Admiral?”

“Aren’t your actions an act of betrayal and rebellion against the Empire? Isn’t that what you are doing?”

At Seo Tae-sik’s words, Ran-yeong shook her head and answered with a smirk.

“This woman in front of you, has been living for the Cult since the moment she was born. In the old days, I was ordered by the Lord of the Demonic Cult to protect the treasure in the Royal Shrine, so how can you call this betrayal?”

The word ‘betrayal’ was something Ran-yeong hated the most.

She was one of the most loyal members of the Demonic Cult.

However, even though he knew about her existence, Seo Tae-sik, the Admiral, couldn't have known about the pact that had been made two hundred years before.

“Demonic Cult’s orders? Hold on. What absurdity are you…”


That was when someone interrupted him.

“Your Majesty?”

The one who had stopped him was none other than the Emperor.

Knowing that the Lord of the Demonic Cult himself was present, he had decided to stay silent, but when he stepped forward, Admiral Seo Tae-sik had to keep his mouth shut.

The emperor made eye contact with Ran-yeong, who seemed proud of her actions, and started recalling the past.

It was when he had inherited the throne that he had been told the truth.

[Emperor, listen to us. Strictly speaking, the Qilin’s Core and Blood, the treasures kept in the Royal Shrine, actually do not belong to the Imperial family.]

[Not to our family?]

He was too shocked to understand what that actually meant.

He was later informed of the contents of the contract which had been signed by the past Emperor.

[The Great Guardian, Ran-yeong, is a member of the Demonic Cult, who signed a contract with the First Emperor at the founding of the Empire to protect the treasure.]

Originally, the first emperor had known that the men from the Demonic Cult, who were there to protect the treasures of the Royal Shrine, would disappear over time.

He'd thought that if everyone disappeared over time, the treasure would soon be forgotten by the cult.

However, something totally unexpected had happened.

The last remaining member of the cult, Mun Ran-yeong, had managed to consume the Qilin’s blood, and therefore to increase her lifespan.

‘I knew that this day might come soon.’

The first emperor hadn't thought that its blood would be absorbed in his time.

If the core and the blood in the Royal Shrine were used by too many people, the contract between the Demonic Cult and Imperial Family would become meaningless. With that in mind, Ran-yeong had decided to stay behind and guard the core and blood.

But now, the Lord of the Demonic Cult himself had appeared.

“… the words of the Guardian hold truth. There is no doubt that she is a member of the Demonic Cult.”


The emperor meekly admitted the truth.

At the emperor’s words, all the officials inside the circle of flame were astonished.

A secret that no one knew had been revealed.

The hidden truth, that the Qilin’s Blood and Core, which were considered to be treasures of the Empire, actually belonged to the Demonic Cult.

Furthermore, the person who was considered to be the hidden power of the palace was also a member of the Demonic Cult.

“H-how could this…”

“The treasure of the Royal Shrine belongs to the Demonic…”

Contrary to the embarrassed officials, Chun Yeowun started to see the emperor in a different light.

They were in the middle of the Imperial Palace.

The emperor could act strong or even distort the truth, but he had decided to admit it.

‘The Emperor’s magnanimity is a lot greater than we thought.’

Indeed, the emperor was surely an astonishing person.

Chun Yeowun felt satisfied.

In such a chaotic atmosphere, the emperor spoke again.

“So you are the Lord of the Demonic Cult?”

When the emperor spoke again, his tone was back to normal.

The officials were in utter shock.

Even the people of Yulin were shocked to see the Emperor treating the Demonic Cult’s Lord as his equal.

“That is right, Your Majesty.”

Chun Yeowun answered in a softer voice.

However, just because the beginning of the conversation went smoothly, didn’t mean that it would end smoothly.

“There is something I must say first. Thank you for helping my second son, the prince Zhu Taikhan. However, this is the Imperial Palace.”

Gradually, the emperor’s voice rose.

“The signing of the Non-aggression treaty doesn’t give you the right to break into the Imperial Palace and make a fuss without my permission!”

He wasn’t wrong.

Chun Yeowun and his members had in fact snuck into the Imperial palace without permission.

If the emperor asked him to take responsibility for his actions, he had no argument to refute it.

If only those Blade God Six Martial clan bastards hadn't created this mess.

“I am sorry if this has made you uncomfortable, Your Majesty, maybe there are some misunderstandings which need to be cleared up…”

It was then.


Before Chun Yeowun’s words were finished, sharp energy rose from all directions and the flames, which were isolating the Guards and eunuchs, were extinguished instantly.


At the same time, one eunuch from the Cardinal Spear knelt before the emperor.

A handsome young man, but at first glance, he looked like a eunuch, and was pretty enough to be considered a woman.

‘He is fast.’

Lee Hameng’s eyes narrowed.

He hadn’t felt a single person move.

The young eunuch, who knelt and bowed in front of the emperor, spoke.

“I apologize to Your Majesty. As ordered, I tried to stay still and watch, but I didn’t have any other option but to come over as I judged the situation to be turning dangerous.”

Ran-yeong, who had been confident up until then, trembled and muttered.


A young eunuch could extinguish Ran-yeong's flames?.

His true identity was that he was the True Guardian, the Emperor’s true, hidden Guardian.

The entire air around them changed with his movements.

“I was going to call for you anyway.”

“Give me the order.”

The Emperor looked at Chun Yeowun with a solemn expression and spoke.

“The Lord of the Demonic Cult has invaded the Imperial Palace at his discretion, and without permission, this means that he has taken the power of the Imperial Palace extremely lightly. From this moment on, I want you to show him the true power of the Imperial Palace.”

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