Chung Myung looked at Hyun Jong’s back as they climbed up the mountain.
Hyun Jong, who congratulated Chung Myung, called him to talk alone.
And they were now climbing the mountain alone.
Chung Myung’s eyes stayed fixed on Hyun Jong’s back as he followed behind him.
It was the second time he was staring at the elder’s back like this. The last time was when he witnessed the tragic sight of the sect leader unable to open the door to the underground warehouse.
The back of Hyun Jong, who carried the fate of the crumbling Mount Hua alone. That sad back, which was unable to be shown to others, remains firmly imprinted in Chung Myung’s memory.
But today, his back seemed a bit less burdened than before.
Hyun Jong, who finally reached the summit, looked down at Mount Hua.
Chung Myung also looked around. Taking in the sights of Mount Hua’s rugged mountains.
“Yes, sect leader.”
“This is the highest peak on Mount Hua.”
“Did you feel anything when climbing up?”
It was a random question, so Chung Myung just honestly answered what he felt.
Hyun Jong turned and looked at Chung Myung. However, Chung Myung just proudly puffed out his chest. As if to ask, ‘was it wrong?’
Hyun Jong smiled seeing that.
“Yes, yes, you’re right.”
Hyun Jong’s face softened.
“I’ve called you here because I have something I want to ask you.”
‘Is this where it starts?’
Chung Myung’s face turned grim.
He wasn’t sure what the question would be, but he knew that he needed to avoid being entangled or confused…
“Yes, sect leader.”
“The plum blossom on your sword.”
Chung Myung licked his lips. Firstly…
Hyun Jong bowed his head towards Chung Myung.
At the unexpected action, Chung Myung flinched and took a step back.
“Why are you doing this, sect leader!?”
“This isn’t being done as the sect leader of Mount Hua. I am thanking you from one human to another. I have always wanted to witness that scene, at least once in my life.”
“But my position as the sect leader of Mount Hua is more important than me being a human, so I cannot help but ask you. How did you manage to make the plum blossoms bloom with the Seven Sages Sword?”
Chung Myung looked at Hyun Jong and spoke.
“It just happened naturally.”
“Yes. As I learned the Seven Sages Sword, the plum blossoms naturally bloomed. I don’t know why either.”
Chung Myung looked at Hyun Jong and asked.
“Aren’t all the swords of Mount Hua like that?”
Hyun Jong looked down at the view beneath his feet without answering. After staring down at the mighty figure of Mount Hua, he said.
He thought that maybe there was a secret behind what Chung Myung did. However, Chung Myung’s answer denied his thoughts.
‘Right. That is Mount Hua’s sword.’
Chung Myung was simply saying that he was ahead of the others. In other words, if the others continued to train, then one day, their swords would also make plum blossoms bloom.
If the day comes when all of Mount Hua’s disciples can do that, the era of Mount Hua will begin again.
“Plum Blossom Swordsman…”
These were words that no one dared to say now.
Plum blossoms were the symbol of Mount Hua. Naturally, the name of the one that could wield that symbol was the Plum Blossom Swordsman.
Right now, no one in Mount Hua deserves that title. However, as Chung Myung said, as long as the day comes when every disciple can make the plum blossoms bloom, that title will surely be passed on properly.
“It’s still a long way off, hahaha.”
The atmosphere was nice, definitely!
Looking back at Chung Myung, Hyun Jong saw that mischievous smile, which weirdly put his heart at ease.
Hyun Jong spoke with a large smile.
“Yes, sect leader.”
“What is Mount Hua to you?”
Chung Myung shook his head without answering.
He seemed to see his sahyungs in the blue sky above.
“For me, Mount Hua is….”
As his sahyung said.
“Is just Mount Hua.”
Now he understood a little of what that meant.
Hyun Jong lightly nodded his head when he heard that answer.
“It is enough that you are a disciple of Mount Hua.”
A warm smile formed on his lips.
“People just want to be here, but the world doesn’t leave them alone. That’s the way the world works, after all. Can you manage to hold your ground?”
Chung Myung chuckled.
“If I couldn’t hold my ground, I wouldn’t have started.”
Hyun Jong looked at Chung Myung and softly said.
“If that’s how you think, then Mount Hua will protect you. Mount Hua and I will protect you from everything you might have to bear.”
Chung Myung smiled.
Nothing was asked.
Hyun Jong didn’t ask a single thing. There must be countless things he wanted to ask, but he was saying that Chung Myung being here was enough for him.
‘The sect leader of Mount Hua.’
Hyun Jong was born later than Chung Myung, and compared to Chung Myung, he didn’t have a reputation built on strength. In terms of power or prestige, he was someone that couldn’t be compared with Chung Myung.
But Chung Myung acknowledged him.
Because this man possessed something that Chung Myung lacked. He was never the sect leader, and Chung Myung was unable to call himself a Taoist. So, he couldn’t help but respect this man who chose to follow his own path.
“Sect leader. It isn’t about protecting me.”
Hyun Jong seemed confused.
“We’re just going together. Under the name of Mount Hua.”
Hyun Jong’s slightly hardened face cracked a small smile.
“You are right.”
Hyun Jong smiled softly.
“Yes, Sect leader.”
“Promise me one thing.”
Chung Myung raised his head and looked at Hyun Jong’s soft eyes.
“I hope to hear more from you someday.”
Chung Myung opened his mouth slightly and then closed it.
It felt strange; it was like something was being squeezed within his chest.
He pressed down on the emotions he couldn’t understand and looked up at the sky.
Excitement doesn’t end so easily.
Especially if they have been through something incredible that’s never been experienced before. For months, such excitement can dominate a person’s mind, let alone a few days.
Mount Hua’s third-class disciples were currently in such a state.
Although the conference was over, the third-class disciples weren’t free from the results of the conference.
“We really won?”
“… I still can’t believe it!”
“It’s like a dream. We seriously won against the Southern Edge Sect.”
It would have been easier to accept had they been confident of their skills and regarded the Southern Edge Sect as a worthy opponent.
However, most of the third-class disciples believed that they were weak and lacked faith in their skills.
It was understandable. Their skills weren’t developed through their own efforts; it would be more accurate to say that Chung Myung forcefully injected their skills into them.
Moreover, Chung Myung was a tyrant that made one understand the cruelty of this depressing world. He wouldn’t even explain what kind of effect the training would have on them or what level they would reach once they completed it.
So, their dumbfounded reactions were only natural.
“I don’t know what that bastard’s thinking!”
“Who? Who else, if not Chung Myung?”
Everyone gathered nodded in unison.
As the aftermath of the incident swept over them, and they started to calm down, they realized how terrifying Chung Myung truly was.
No one among the third-class disciples was unaware of Chung Myung’s greatness. But what he did this time was so great that he single-handedly overturned everyone’s understanding of him.
Jo Gul, who seemed strangely mesmerized, spoke to Yoon Jong.
“I can’t sleep.”
“… are you even going to ask me to give you counseling?”
“Not like that….”
Jo Gul scratched his head and spoke.
“Whenever I close my eyes, the sword Chung Myung showed keeps flashing in my mind. It almost feels like I’m being possessed… I can’t explain it well. But it’s like that.”
Yoon Jong gulped.
‘He is the same?’
It was the same for Yoon Jong.
Whenever Yoon Jong would close his eyes, he would see the swordsmanship that caused plum blossoms to bloom. No, even when his eyes were open, he was constantly thinking about it.
At first, it was fine.
Most of the work was done by Chung Myung, but the other third-class disciples also defeated their opponents.
The more they thought about their victories, the more it became difficult to calm their hearts.
But as time passed, the excitement faded, and they started to think about what they saw.
Could it be explained further?
Yoon Jong felt like he had a good fight against the Southern Edge Sect.
But that sword…
If only he could unleash that sword on his own…
Yoon Jong looked at Jo Gul.
“Will we ever be able to display a technique like that?”
Yoon Jong fell into deep thought.
“I don’t know if this is something I should say when I’m just a third-class disciple of Mount Hua….”
Hearing those words, everyone’s eyes focused on Yoon Jong.
“To be honest, I just wanted to be strong.”
Yoon Jong continued to honestly speak his mind.
“I never thought about reaching a certain level or wanting to show any particular techniques. I just had a vague desire to get stronger.”
“It was the same for me.”
Jo Gul spoke like it was a confession.
Most of them probably felt the same, which helped Yoon Jong to relax slightly.
“But this time, seeing that sword…”
‘How should I put it?’
Yoon Jong shut his mouth to carefully choose his words.
He never felt that he was bad at speaking, and it wasn’t that he couldn’t find the right words. For some reason, he just found it difficult to express how he felt right now.
After thinking about it for a few moments, Yoon Jong spoke frankly.
“… I thought. That’s what I want to do. I want to be able to display that swordsmanship myself.”
Perhaps these words represented what all of them were thinking.
Perhaps that was the sword of Mount Hua.
That’s the direction they should engrave in their hearts and strive to achieve for the rest of their lives.
Several years after their initiation into the sect, they had finally seen Mount Hua’s true swordsmanship.
“Can we really unfold that technique someday?”
Yoon Jong received everyone’s attention and silently endured it as he nodded.
“I believe that we can.”
There was determination in his eyes.
“We are the disciples of Mount Hua. There’s no way that a disciple of Mount Hua would be unable to display Mount Hua’s swordsmanship. If we work tirelessly, one day, we will surely be able to achieve that goal.”
“We need to train well!”
“I’ll surely reach that level one day. I have a goal now.”
“Right. I will work hard too. Along with you all.”
After a long time together, the third-class disciples had begun to believe in each other and unite as one.
“Even if we have shortcomings, won’t Chung Myung solve them?”
“Because he’s like a goblin.”
“Won’t he make us stronger?”
At the same time, confidence in Chung Myung began to rise within them.
It was then.
The door opened violently.
‘I must have told him fifty times to open the door with his hands. You can’t just kick it open.’
It seemed like Yoon Jong’s thoughts were read as the door was closed normally.
And a very familiar face began to slowly scan through the disciples in the dorms. The calm faces quickly contorted in panic.
‘It’s s–starting again.’
‘What is he going to say now?’
Chung Myung’s lips seemed to twitch, as if he was annoyed, before violently opening.
“What are you all doing exchanging warm words of encouragement like kids! Huh?”
… why haven’t the ghosts taken this demon back with them yet?
Well, they could never catch that kind of person.
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