Jin Geum-Ryong was dumbfounded as he looked at Chung Myung.
‘What the hell is he up to now?’
Between the third and second-class disciples? Based on the winning streaks?
Was that how he intended to win?
Jin Geum-Ryong sharpened his teeth.
There is a limit to how much the Southern Edge Sect can be ridiculed. As head of the second-class disciples, Jin Geum-Ryong refused to let this transgression go.
Even if Mount Hua’s third-class disciples were able to dominate their opponents, wasn’t that still just a battle between the same classes?
This classing isn’t something that can be overcome with talent and effort. If the difference between classes could be overcome so easily, the hierarchy of the sect’s disciples would collapse. That’s why many sects keep a large age gap between classes when accepting new disciples.
No matter how strong the third-class disciples of Mount Hua were, there was a fundamental difference between that and challenging the second-class disciples. Jin Geum-Ryong had never heard of a younger generation challenging the seniors of a sect before.
Just being offered such a proposal was shameful.
As soon as Jin Geum-Ryong called out, Sama Seung grabbed his shoulder.
Sama Seung’s face distorted.
“Our name has already been dragged through the mud. If we reject this offer to save face, others will only say that we ran away in fear.”
Jin Geum-Ryong bit his lip.
He couldn’t deny it. That damn bastard wouldn’t think twice about spreading that rumor. If the battle had been proposed politely or gently, there would have been a justified way to reject it. However, there was no way out when the child so brazenly provoked their sect.
It was a disgraceful proposal to accept, yet humiliating to reject.
Sama Seung raised his head and looked at Chung Myung.
“Chung Myung, was it?”
“Yes. You didn’t seem to remember very well before, but now you seem to get it.”
“I heard your suggestion, but I don’t think you’re in a position to make this offer on behalf of Mount Hua, are you?”
“Then ask the sect leader yourself. Well, it isn’t that hard.”
That brat really could twist someone’s stomach with words alone.
“I’m pointing out your attitude. There’s an order to everything. Is this how they teach you in Mount Hua?
It was a cheap but effective attack. Once in a bad mood, attack using age and manners. Hasn’t this method been tried and true since the ancient past?
“I don’t know how Mount Hua teaches because I only joined recently. So, I haven’t had the time to learn properly. Since I grew up as an orphan, I have my shortcomings, so I hope you understand.”
‘Suddenly mentioning his parents?’
‘Then what am I supposed to say?’
Chung Myung stared at Hwang Mun-Yak, while Sama Seung tried to find some other way to push him down.
“How about it?”
“I-it seems fine, but…?”
“There are only people from Mount Hua and the Southern Edge sect here. We need an objective judgment.”
‘Someone to take our side.’
With the officials of Shaanxi present, Southern Edge must strive for victory at all costs. They can’t afford to step down, or else they’d be disgraced as cowards who are afraid of losing to their opponents.
Hwang Mun-Yak coughed and asked while looking at the crowd.
“What do you think?”
“Umm. Regardless of what is fair or not, we would love to see more spars!”
“Actually, I want to see how well the third-class disciples can hold their ground against the second-class disciples. It’s very exciting.”
Hwang Mun-Yak nodded his head.
Of course, the audience would agree. This would take the fighting to the next level. By asking a third-class disciple to face a second-class, one could see how strong the disciples really are.
“I’m looking forward to it, young disciple.”
Chung Myung nodded his head.
“So, the audience has given permission. Sect leader! How about you!?”
Hyun Jong looked at Chung Myung with a puzzled expression.
“What is he doing?”
Hyun Jong asked Un Geom for help.
“Allow him, Sect leader.”
“Allow? You think I should allow this nonsense?”
“He’s a smart child.”
Un Geom spoke firmly.
“Maybe this sounds exaggerated, but I’ve never felt that child to be foolish or immature. In fact, there are times when it seemed like he was teasing me or trying to pull one over my head. Didn’t Sect Leader also admit that this boy has a certain depth to him?
Clearly, that was the case with Chung Myung.
He was like an old man wearing the mask of a child.
“There is no way such a child could act ignorant suddenly. I’m sure that he has an answer ready, so please allow it. Above all else….”
Un Geom smiled and spoke.
“What’s wrong with losing now? We have nothing to lose anyway.”
Hyun Jong looked at Un Geom, confidence gleaming within his eyes.
Hyun Jong looked at the remaining elders and confirmed their thoughts through their eyes before nodding in consent.
‘If it’s as Un Geom said, then everything that’s happened was due to that child’s plan.’
There was nothing left to do but to trust that everything would work out.
Hyun Jong wondered if he was expecting too much from a child, but Mount Hua truly had nothing to lose.
Even if they lost horribly, they wouldn’t forget the victories they had already earned.
Hyun Jong, who made up his mind, spoke in a loud voice.
“Mount Hua agrees.”
Immediately, cheers erupted from the onlookers.
“Oh! Then the Southern Edge can’t back down!”
“Such spectacular events today! I need to talk about what I saw. I didn’t expect such a lively show!”
“Mount Hua is Mount Hua, after all. No wonder it’s called the most prestigious sect! There may be ups and downs, but there’s no downfall.”
Hwang Mun-Yak smiled bitterly as he heard the change in the crowd’s attitude.
But this was the nature of a merchant and the general reaction of most people. Isn’t it human nature to want to befriend powerful and promising figures?
In other words, Mount Hua was starting to look like a place worthy of risk and trade.
‘Then… how will the Southern Edge Sect react?’
Personally, Hwang Mun-Yak would never accept this offer. Because there were no benefits to be won but much to lose. But what if he was in Sama Seung’s position?
‘I would accept.’
Unlike merchants, a martial arts sect cannot simply withdraw.
This was because of their self-esteem and pride.
It was impossible to retract their tail and cower away after receiving such an advantageous offer from a sect that’s weaker than themselves. So, naturally…
“We agree as well!”
They would obviously come out.
Hwang Mun-Yak looked at them with excitement.
Yoon Jong sprinted up with a terrified face and grabbed Chung Myung before dragging him along.
“What’s wrong with you?”
When Chung Myung protested, Yoon Jong pulled him to the corner and softly asked.
“Brat! What are you up to?”
“How can we defeat the second-class disciples? They’re the second-class disciples of the Southern Edge sect! Jin Geum-Ryong! The best in Shaanxi!”
“N-No way, do you really think we can beat them? Are you saying we got that much stronger?”
“Don’t you think people should have a conscience?”
“I rescued a drowning man, and now he wants to fight someone that’s armed with a club in hand. What? You think you could win?”
“A-No… I was just asking.”
Yoon Jong was excited and hopeful, just a little bit.
“Don’t even dream about it. You won’t win.”
Especially over Jin Geum-Ryong.
If it was any of the other disciples, maybe it was worth a try? Well… that wouldn’t be easy either. But if Jin Geum-Ryong steps forward, none of the third-class disciples would be able to do anything.
What Chung Myung taught would work on those of the same age, but the difference was too great when fighting someone older and more experienced.
“T-then what are you going to do?”
Chung Myung chuckled.
“The plan is simple….”
Sama Seung said firmly.
“It’s obvious what they’re planning. They want to whittle down our strength by cycling through their disciples in order to score at least one victory against us. After battling nine times in a row, their last competitor will be able to secure an easy victory over our exhausted disciple.”
Sama Seung immediately recognized what was happening.
The victor continues to fight.
In other words, those who don’t lose can’t step down. If they continue to win consecutively, they will drain all of their stamina.
“Maybe he assumed that Jin Geum-Ryong would lead the charge.”
Jin Geum-Ryong takes the lead. After nine of the third-class disciples came out, he would be exhausted and out of stamina. Finally, Chung Myung would come and defeat the tired Jin Geum-Ryong.
Nine defeats and only one victory.
But this one win would be worth more than all nine defeats. The fact that Jin Geum-Ryong of the Southern Edge Sect was defeated by Mount Hua’s third-class disciples would spread.
Sama Seung ground his teeth.
“Such a sneaky bastard.”
Shaking his head, he looked at Jin Geum-Ryong.
“You know what you have to do.”
“Without losing. Over ten. Over twenty! I will deal with as many as you like.”
Sama Seung shook his head.
“There’s no need for you to jump into their trap.”
Jin Geum-Ryong showed a look of disgust.
“What pride is there in willingly jumping into your enemy’s trap? People will only discuss how those third-class disciples toyed around with you.”
Jin geum-Ryong bit his lip.
That made sense. This match was strange from the start and could be interpreted that way.
“You will go last.”
“… Yes, I understand.”
Sama Seung turned his head.
“You go, Yu Baek.”
“Yes, elder! I will not disappoint you.”
“It’s alright even if we don’t win every match. Defeat as many as you can until you run out of stamina; once you feel exhausted, simply surrender and return. Never fall under their swords. Do you understand?
Sama Seung gnashed his teeth.
It was best if Yu Baek defeated everyone. If he’s unable to, at the very least, they should finish by only sending out two people.
‘Then Jong Seo-Han? Since Geum-Ryong can’t go out, he’s the next best. Lee Song-Baek has been strong lately as well….’
At that moment, he heard a bizarre whistling sound and looked at the stage.
And Sama Seung saw it.
Chung Myung, who had been dragged away by someone to talk to, walked out on stage with a wooden sword draped over his shoulder.
“Plan, what plan? Hurry and come get beaten. I am the plan!”
Chung Myung smiled as he lowered his head.
“I will make this a day you can never forget, Southern Edge Sect.”
It was a calm but bold declaration.
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