After four days of procession, they were finally moving towards Changbai and arrived at the northern border of Liaoning province.
In the meantime, some changes occurred.
It wasn’t just the former Lord Chun Inji who mastered the Sword Force of the Sky Demon.
Thunder qi emanated from the body, making the horse get excited.
Despite being good at handling horses, he was unable to stop the horse from running wild.
Eventually, he had to get off the horse.
“Hahahah! If you have trouble controlling the thunder qi, you might not be able to ride a horse for the rest of your life.”
Ko Wanghur laughed wildly and made fun of the man who came down from the horse.
The person he laughed at was Bakgi, the Third Sword of the Six Swords.
Lightning flashed across his entire body.
He tried several times to ride a horse but kept failing again and again due to his body unconsciously releasing thunder qi.
How did Bakgi end up getting thunder qi?
A small trigger made it happen.
The members of the Six Swords, who had been together ever since the days of the academy, often honed their skills through battles among themselves.
Originally, Bakgi used to fight against Ko Wanghur.
However, as if Mun Ku becoming stronger wasn’t enough, Ko Wanghur had suddenly reached the Superior Master level.
In order to overcome the huge gap between them, he learned a new martial art created by Chun Yeowun, but that wasn’t enough to fill the gap between them.
Meanwhile, the worst thing happened to him.
[Wah! I won for the first time. Hehehe!]
He ended up losing to Hu Bong.
Unlike the other Six Swords, Hu Bong always followed Chun Yeowun and gained experience, and somehow Hu Bong seemed different.
‘Unbelievable! For me to lose to Hu Bong…’
He was incomparable to the past.
It wasn’t like he hated Hu Bong, but it was true that he hated Hu Bong slightly as a martial artist.
And the feeling of losing within five seconds was even more miserable.
This created a ripple inside Bakgi, who had no other desire but to be the strongest under his Lord, Chun Yeowun.
‘… I must be crazy.’
Bravely, he drank the dragon’s blood.
All the warriors of the Demonic Cult had seen how the officials of the North Sea Ice Palace who drank the blood had turned into soot, so they knew that it had to be diluted.
However, Hu Bong succeeded in taking in the blood of the Flame Qilin, but it was done because Hu Bong was in a drastic situation.
Even if Bakgi died, he wanted to try it.
And the result.
Just like Hu Bong, who was able to generate flame qi, he got thunder qi.
Of course, he was on the verge of death.
If it wasn’t for Chun Yeowun, who appeared at the right moment and calmed the raging thunder qi in his body, Bakgi would have died.
However, despite absorbing the thunder qi, controlling it was difficult.
[It’s different from Hu Bong. It may be because the dragon died recently, so more qi seems to remain in the blood.]
Chun Yeowun judged it as such.
And his prediction was almost right.
The blood of the Flame Qilin in the shrine was diluted for ages.
[If the thunder qi in his body can be completely circulated, then the thunder qi won’t come out unconsciously.]
That was what the former lord, Chun Inji, had said after checking Bakgi’s condition.
At first, he couldn’t understand what Chun Inji was saying, but then he explained it in an easy-to-understand manner.
[You need to reach the Superior Master level.]
If reaching that level was an easy task, then Bakgi would have climbed it at once.
Recalling that Hu Bong was much lower than him when taking in the blood of the Flame Qilin, Bakgi thought that it would be the same for him.
He managed to take in the thunder qi, but he didn’t manage to level up.
‘… were Hu Bong’s qualities superior to mine?’
He was confused.
In the academy, Hu Bong was the weakest. Bakgi couldn’t understand just how much Hu Bong had grown.
Looking back at Hu Bong, who was riding his horse, Bakgi sighed.
Hu Bong never wanted to compete with anyone.
He was just faithful to his responsibilities, and he attained enlightenment as if he was being rewarded for it.
‘I was stupid. He is he, and I am me.’
He came to that realization.
Martial arts wasn’t something that could be treated hastily.
Rather than being envious of Hu Bong or Ko Wanghur, it was important for Bakgi to steadily walk on his own path.
When he relaxed a little, the thunder qi got released once again.
Hu Bong, riding his horse, spoke with a serious voice.
“I understand Bakgi’s feelings. With great power comes great responsibility.”
Bakgi turned angry at the words, which didn’t seem to console his emotions.
But the words that followed.
“I, too, couldn't sleep for nights as I was trying to suppress the sweltering heat in my body. Hehehe.”
It was close to a joke.
‘… to be pushed by this guy.’
His heart, which tried to acknowledge Hu Bong, disappeared.
And he understood one thing, he had to work very hard to get ahead of Hu Bong.
Hu Bong was embarrassed by Bakgi’s attitude, which seemed to ignore Hu Bong.
Chun Inji, the former lord, looked at them with a smile.
“You’ve got interesting people.”
Chun Yeowun, who was riding alongside him, nodded.
When he first met Hu Bong, he was trying to oppress Chun Yeowun, but now he was someone who brightens everyone’s mood.
Chun Yeowun was more than satisfied with having Hu Bong as his subordinate.
It was then when someone riding a horse caught up with them.
“You ca-called for me?”
It was Moyong Yuu, the son of Moyong Kang.
He looked nervous every time he went to Chun Yeowun.
“Since we are close to Liaoning. You can guide us to Changbai from here.”
“…L-Lord Chun. Are you really going to Changbai Mountain?”
The last time they talked about Changbai Mountain, Moyong Yuu had a dark expression on his face.
However, even now, he seemed to have the same reaction, as if he knew something about that mountain.
At Moyong Yuu’s actions, 6th elder Mong Mu, who was next to him, asked.
“You are only asked to provide guidance. How dare you question the plans of the Lord…”
Chun Yeowun raised his hand and interrupted him.
And asked Moyong Yuu.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
At first, he thought that maybe Moyong Yuu was intimidated by his presence, but it didn’t seem like that was the only reason.
After hesitating for a while, Moyong Yuu opened his mouth.
“Outsiders might not know, but there is an unwritten rule for people living in Liaoning province.”
“Unwritten rule? What is it?”
“… the rule states that one should never enter Changbai Mountain.”
Their destination was that very mountain.
According to Chun Inji’s information, the Feng bo is the spirit beast inside Changbai Mountain.
However, there is an unwritten rule that no one should enter that mountain, which sounded absurd.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I-I didn’t mean to say it like that. It was just something that my father and grandfather always told me to follow. Because of that, despite being from Liaoning province, I have never even been to the beginning of the mountain in my entire life.”
“What kind of unwritten rule is that?”
6th elder Mong Mu clicked his tongue.
He knew that the Changbai Mountain was right between the two countries.
And no one country could control the entire mountain.
“I’m telling the truth.”
“You have no idea why?”
“… my grandfather said that there was a monster guarding the entrance of the mountain. And if I didn’t want to die, he told me not to go to that place.”
Chun Yeowun tilted his head as he sent a telepathic message to Chun Inji.
[Maybe he is talking about the white tiger.]
It was just a random guess.
When Chun Yeowun waited, Chun Inji sent his response.
[… I don’t remember it perfectly, but somehow, this old man remembers hearing something like that.]
[The people of the Blade God Six Martial clan used to talk about the monster protecting Changbai Mountain. However, if this old man’s guess is correct, then us entering might be difficult, just like the child has said.]
What the hell was in Changbai Mountain?
[Do you have any guess as to who or what is in there?]
At Chun Yeowun’s question, Chun Inji looked into his eyes and responded.
Two days ago,
The area where the southern border of the Jilin province met with the eastern border of the Liaoning province.
The land to Changbai Mountain was steep, and the land vibrated with hundreds of hooves and thousands of steps.
As the land shook, a large army was advancing.
In the middle, there were flags that held the symbol of Justice, fluttering in the wind.
The large army belonged to the Yulin.
The army had 5,000 members in different uniforms, made up of elite soldiers and various clans.
Those who rode at the forefront were seven leaders of the Forces of Justice and some commanders.
Leader Mu Gu-cheon, the commander along with leader Gak-yeon of the Shaolin temple, 3rd leader Monk Sathi, 11th leader Hong Palwoo, 10th leader Ho Hyeon-ja, 16th leader Yeon Young-in, and 17th leader Peng-gyu were all heading for Changbai Mountain.
Behind them was the new commander Mak Wijong followed by five more commanders and fifty smaller clan heads.
“This is the first time we’ve moved like this.”
Ho Hyeon-ja, who was riding the horse, clicked his tongue as he watched the large army follow them.
They were all members of the Yulin faction.
All the people in the army were elite warriors.
With this force, if they wanted to, they could even destroy a castle in half a day.
“Amitabha. I don’t know if taking this many people to Changbai is right.”
Monk Sathi, who was riding next to him, spoke.
Yoo Beom-ryeo, who was in charge of the operation, had only let a measly number of warriors stay behind to defend each clan, and every elite who could be found was gathered and sent to Changbai Mountain.
“I also share the same opinion as Monk Sathi. It would have been better to give more people to the unit raiding their base.”
At those words, Hong Palwoo spoke.
“Despite hearing about the operation, I don’t understand why so much power is being sent with us.”
“Leader Hong Palwoo. It isn’t like that. The reason that so many people are being sent to the mountain is that the core has to be obtained by us…”
It wasn’t understandable.
Even though the spirit beasts are known to be strong, with the force of Yulin, they would be able to get to the core in less than half a day.
Gak-yeon, who was listening to it, spoke.
“Amitabha. Leader Ho might not be familiar as it hasn’t been long since you turned into a leader.”
“What do you mean? Saint?”
“Why do you think that all the top-rank warriors and the leaders are being pushed to Changbai Mountain?”
“T-to persuade the guardian of Changbai Mountain? Even if he is one of the Five strongest warri…”
“It has nothing to do with being the five strongest warriors.”
Before he could finish, Hong Palwoo intervened.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“That monster is locked up in Changbai Mountain and didn’t take a single step out of there. If that monster decided to move in earnest, maybe that monster would be called the best in Wulin.”
“The best… in Wulin?”
Hong Palwoo’s answer made Ho Hyeon-ja doubt his ears.
He knew that this monster was the oldest of the five strongest warriors.
However, he could understand why Yi Mok and the other leaders were so scared of this person.
“Honestly, it isn’t just about the talks, but if the Great Leader was right, our plan isn’t just to convince him, as he is someone that can deal with the Demon God.”
It was one of the three orders they received from Yoo Beom-ryeo.
The first, to persuade ‘the man’ who guards the mountain, the second, obtain the core of the spirit beast, and the third, create a trap where the Demonic Cult and the Blade God Six Martial clan would be attacked.
That’s the most ideal scheme, but all this would only be possible if that monster agrees.
“I can see it.”
While they were having a conversation, 16th leader Yeon Young-in spoke while looking at the vast mountain.
In the distance, the huge white peaks of Changbai Mountain began to rise.
If they followed the path, they would soon enter the mountain.
“I hope that he’ll join our side.”
“I hope he gets convinced.”
Whether the advance squad which left ahead of them succeeded in persuading him or not, they had to wait near the forest to know.
The time to move forward.
Mu Gu-cheon, who was at the forefront, moving ahead, suddenly stopped.
The other leaders looked at him, hoping he would tell them why he stopped, but a disgusting smell that wafted through the wind filled their noses.
“What is this?”
“Smells like blood.”
There was no way that they didn’t know the smell of blood.
The smell of blood which greeted them gave them an ominous feeling.
Hong Palwoo was the one who spoke.
“Something seems to be wrong. This is blood…”
It seemed one or two people had died, and it wasn’t a nice smell.
The people were worried.
At the part where the mountain starts, something happened.
The men who were in the lead grabbed their weapons at the sudden energy they felt.
Everyone thought that it was their final moments.
In the path they were supposed to walk, a strong aura and ominous energy.
‘This is a terrible feeling.’
It was as if the forest was telling them, ‘another step and I’ll attack’.
However, advancing wouldn’t be possible if they decided to head through the forest.
Mu Gu-cheon, the commander, raised his hand and commanded the troops.
As soon as the orders fell, something shocking happened.
In the middle of the road which leads into the mountain, an unidentified person wearing a bamboo hat appeared.
A great gust of wind blew around him, and the leaves on the trees seemed to rustle.
At the unusual sight, Saint Gak-yeon mumbled in a trembling voice.
“East Challenger God!”
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