Jin Geum-Ryong saw the tinge of red blooming within the white world he’d created.
A feeble light.
Like a drop of blood that fell on a pure white snowfield, it was nothing more than a tiny dot that seemed fragile yet radiantly shone red.
The red dot soon vividly took on the form of a plum blossom.
One blossom, then another. In an instant, plum blossoms began to blend into Jin Geum-Ryong’s technique.
And burned it away.
Just as snow melts in the blazing spring sun, the remnants of Jin Geum-Ryong’s technique melted away wherever the red plum blossoms bloomed.
It was said that Mount Hua could no longer make plum blossoms bloom. That was why everyone assumed that Mount Hua would be unable to revive again.
The plum blossom is the symbol of Mount Hua, no matter what anyone says. If Mount Hua cannot make the plum blossoms bloom, they could never recapture their former glory.
But at this moment, the plum blossoms that had vanished from Mount Hua’s history had begun to bloom again.
Even more vividly and colorful.
Jin Geum-Ryong couldn’t believe it.
He didn’t doubt that Chung Myung’s sword could give rise to the plum blossoms.
That wasn’t what Jin Geum-Ryong failed to understand.
He couldn’t believe that the snow flowers he desperately bloomed were melting into Mount Hua’s plum blossoms.
The Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword technique.
This technique contained the last hundred years of the Southern Edge Sect’s efforts. Wasn’t this sword art supposed to culminate the essence of all Southern Edge’s techniques and show their dedication to development?
Even if the legendary plum blossom sword was reproduced, the sword of the Southern Edge sect must be more advanced.
It was impossible that their technique would lose to a relic of the older generations!
‘Why is this happening?’
Tearing it apart.
The moment the pure white flowers Jin Geum-Ryong created touched Chung Myung’s red plum blossoms, they collapsed as if they had never existed at all.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s eyes began to tremble.
He couldn’t display a sword any more perfect than this. It was a sword that unfolded perfectly, to the point that perfection itself seemed inadequate to describe it. So, why couldn’t that shabby plum blossom be defeated?
Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword.
It was broken.
The sword of the Southern Edge Sect.
Everything Jin Geum-Ryong had built up till now was scattered by the red plum blossoms.
Jin Geum-Ryong screamed.
Chung Myung swung his sword with a half-hearted look in his eyes.
A stream of red plum blossoms trailed from the tip of his sword. The flowers following Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword collapsed without any effort.
Just a shell. No, an imitation of a shell.
Everyone misunderstands Mount Hua’s sword. Even the disciples of Mount Hua misunderstand it.
The Plum Blossom Sword technique, no, the sword of Mount Hua, is a sword that faithfully reproduces the color and beauty of the plum blossoms.
People misunderstand and assume that Mount Hua’s sword is judged by how beautiful and sophisticated the plum blossoms are.
But is that all?
Mount Hua is a Taoist sect.
All of Mount Hua’s sword techniques walk the path of Tao.
The Wudang sect considered Taiji as their source.
The Diancang sect considered the sun as their source.
The Kongtong sect considers the five elements as their source.
Every Taoist sect in the world resembles a form of nature, and their ultimate goal is to realize the Tao in their body.
But Mount Hua is different.
Mount Hua only pursues plum blossoms with their sword.
When the sword of the Wudang sect reaches its peak, they feel like they have attained their source. QinCheng’s sword becomes a blazing sun. The Kongtong sect harnesses the power of the five elements in their sword.
However, Mount Hua has Plum Blossoms and Plum Blossoms alone.
This made Mount Hua different from others. It is a sect that feverishly pursues glorious and beautiful techniques.
But was that all?
Did Mount Hua’s Sword only pursue the image of the Plum Blossom?
‘Of course not.’
Chung Myung finally understood. After swinging the sword again and again, making plum blossoms bloom and spending his entire life with Mount Hua’s sword. He managed to climb to a height that no one else had ever reached.
What Mount Hua strove to reproduce wasn’t the plum blossom.
Mount Hua didn’t imitate the plum blossom. Mount Hua’s sword makes plum blossoms bloom.
‘It isn’t the plum blossom.’
It was the ‘blooming.’
The conception of life.
The fruit of patience finally blooms after persevering through a long winter.
Since the plum blossoms are in full bloom on Mount Hua, they were chosen to represent the ability. But their sword can give birth to new life, so what does it matter which flower they choose to produce?
The essence of Mount Hua’s sword is ‘blooming.’
Those who become blinded by the splendor of the plum blossoms and sharpen their swords in pursuit of that image will never reach the sect’s true essence.
If one can understand that Mount Hua wasn’t pursuing the plum blossoms, but ‘blooming’… right, once they reach the level of Chung Myung, there was no need to distinguish between techniques.
Even if it was a flower that wasn’t the Plum Blossom. Even if it wasn’t the Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword technique.
Whether it was the Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword or the Falling Flower Sword, they could make the plum blossoms bloom.
That was the true meaning of Mount Hua’s sword.
Those who live under the name of Mount Hua need to bear this in their hearts.
Those that fail to understand this and simply pursue the dazzling sword they see would lose their light and forever wander, unable to reach the peak.
Like Jin Geum-Ryong.
And just like his ancestors who created that sword technique.
Jin Geum-Ryong stared, mesmerized, by Chung Myung.
How your sword collapses.
Human memory works mysteriously.
The image of the Southern Edge Sect’s technique being broken by Chung Myung’s more splendid and vivid sword in this conference would be engraved into their memories forever.
Every time they swing their swords, they will remember this sight. Whenever they train, they will try to imitate what they have seen.
In the end, the strength they believed in and depended upon will not help them escape from this curse.
Flashier and even more extraordinary.
But there is nothing at the end. All that exists for them is emptiness.
The more they pursue splendor, the more the Southern Edge Sect would lose their sword and fall deeper into the mire.
Even if those they trusted betray you.
Even if they lost the sword techniques that were the center of their sect.
Even if an enemy pushes into the heart of their sect.
Mount Hua will never disappear.
As long as the spirit of Mount Hua remains what they seek. Then, just as plum blossoms endure the harsh winter and bloom again, Mount Hua will once again make its name in the world.
But what if the Southern Edge Sect lost their techniques? What if they lose the spirit they once pursued? What if they were betrayed by their own ideas?
Even if they haven’t suffered a decline, the sect would soon collapse.
Now Chung Myung’s sword will serve as poison for these men and become a curse that will bind their futures.
What you tried to steal, what you wanted so much.
‘I will show you.’
This would become eternal shackles and would serve as Chung Myung’s revenge for what the Southern Edge Sect did to Mount Hua.
Chung Myung’s sword gracefully flew across the sky. From the tip of the sword, small plum blossoms bloomed.
First one, and then another.
The plum blossoms constantly bloomed.
A flower that radiated life erupted into the world.
The martial arts are divided into Yin and Yang, and tai chi is divided into five elements. The five elements make up the world, and within that world, life is born.
After all, the world is an endless cycle of decay and rebirth.
In this blooming, there is a path that the ancestors of Mount Hua tried to reach.
Mount Hua’s disciples entered Chung Myung’s sight. Seeing them mesmerized by Mount Hua’s sword evoked a strange sense of sorrow within Chung Myung.
‘This is also my atonement.’
What he should have done but couldn’t.
‘So, look at this now.’
This was what Mount Hua ended up losing.
This was where these disciples would need to climb one day.
Hyun Jong exclaimed at what he saw.
He didn’t know why he felt this way. The scene before his eyes had touched his heart.
Plum blossoms were fully blooming once again.
The plum blossoms that were out of season were suddenly blooming all around the bleak Mount Hua.
And in that place
There was a spring that never seemed to come.
A spring that never came to Mount Hua, even as the seasons changed.
Spring had never come, even when a young boy grew into a healthy young man. When that young man grew into an old man whose shoulders were crushed under the weight of responsibility, he still waited for the spring to arrive as his hair turned white and his body withered.
Finally, a spring that he had never seen despite the long wait had finally arrived.
Tears welled up in Hyun Jong’s eyes.
The Mount Hua he longed to see. The long-awaited sword of Mount Hua.
It was right here.
Hyun Jong smiled.
The tears didn’t stop, but Hyun Jong smiled.
Mount Hua was still here.
After enduring and enduring all these harsh years, flowers were finally blooming.
“Mount Hua didn’t disappear.”
Feeding his life, perseverance, and patience, the plum blossom finally bloomed after a hundred years.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s beautiful technique had disappeared like fantasy. The cold and bitter snow flowers were pushed away by the warm wind, and plum blossoms filled the gaps left behind.
Blossoming again and again.
The blooming red plum blossoms filled Jin Geum-Ryong’s vision.
A sea of plum blossoms.
A forest of plum blossoms with no end.
‘This… is Mount Hua.’
The sword of Mount Hua.
Mount Hua’s sword. The sword that the elders of the Southern Edge Sect feared so much and tried to recreate.
Only now could Jin Geum-Ryong understand why his elders were so afraid of Mount Hua.
Something about this sword didn’t exist in the Southern Edge Sect.
This sword was unique to Mount Hua and could not be attained by others.
The wind blew, and the plum blossoms began to flow together in unison.
The entire world seemed to be filled with them.
The sight of countless petals soaring at once was spectacular.
Jin Geum-Ryong was mesmerized and lost himself in the scene.
Even though he understood his situation, he could not help but be entranced at the sight of the plum blossoms fluttering in front of him.
A sight that didn’t seem to belong to the real world. His soul felt as if it was being sucked in.
‘What’s the difference?’
Why couldn’t he create this splendor?
Why wasn’t his sword so beautiful?
The plum blossoms didn’t answer him.
They simply covered the world. Gently, splendidly, and majestically.
Capturing a scene that he would eternally be unable to forget, a plum leaf softly descended onto Jin Geum-Ryong’s forehead.
It sank down.
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