At last, Wei Soheng climbed the final hill and exhaled harshly.
‘What a steep mountain.’
As he felt before, this mountain didn’t make it easy for people to approach. Aside from being incredibly steep, the problem was that one also had to climb countless cliffs that were barely reachable in order to climb to the top.
However, he was able to climb the mountain more easily than expected.
Unlike how it was in the past, stakes were embedded in each cliff to make the climb easy. These stakes even had ropes connected to each other. The climb became much easier than scaling the bare cliff if one held onto the rope.
“Huk! Still, it is hard.”
Wei Soheng wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve.
The Wudang Sect had a code that required those entering the sect to remove their weapons and dismount their horses. But there was no need for such rules on Mount Hua.
Because no horse could make this climb anyway.
That was why it was said that everyone who entered Mount Hua was equal.
Because everyone must walk the same rugged mountain path with their own hand and feet. That is how tough Mount Hua is.
“I don’t know who thought of it, but it was a great idea. It makes it easier for those climbing Mount Hua to understand their intentions.”
Mount Hua has a long history, so it wouldn’t have been strange for them to change this. The fact that they kept this tradition the same showed that they were still humble.
Sweaty and gasping, Wei Soheng finally set sights on the giant gate of Mount Hua.
“… why isn’t there a single thing that’s familiar?”
Even the gate was different from the past.
When he visited Mount Hua in the past, the collapsed gate remained so impressive that this new magnificent gate felt awkward to him.
At a glance, there were the words ‘Great Mount Hua Sect’ written in beautiful calligraphy. The moment he saw this signboard, he felt overwhelmed.
‘It’s definitely different from before.’
Even the rivers and mountains are known to change in ten years, wasn’t that more than enough time for a sect to change?
With anticipation rising in his bosom, Wei Soheng approached the gate.
There was no one guarding the large gate. Perhaps the gate was also firmly closed because it was still early.
Wei Soheng took a shaky breath and knocked on the great gate.
“Is anyone here!?”
Thud! Thud! Thud!
“I am here to visit the sect.”
‘Isn’t anyone here?’
He wondered if it was right to shout, but he couldn’t think of any other way.
“A guest wants to visit Mount Hua, is anyone here!?”
Wei Soheng tried to shout as politely as he possibly could. Soon, he stopped knocking and waited for someone to come.
‘If anyone had heard it, they should have come by now….’
Unsurprisingly, the gate opened, and a man stuck his head out from inside.
Wei Soheng happily opened his mouth to speak but was quickly cut off before he had a chance.
“We aren’t taking any visitors today.”
“Mount Hua isn’t accepting any visitors today, please come back tomorrow.”
“Ah, I-I didn’t hear about such a thing.”
Well, he really did wonder why no one else was climbing the mountain today.
“Wait, one moment!”
Wei Soheng shouted urgently.
“I’m sorry, but is there really no way? I need to see the sect leader of Mount Hua.”
“We aren’t allowing visitors today. If it isn’t too urgent, then tomorrow—”
“I–I’m not a visitor.”
Baek Sang, who opened the door, looked at Wei Soheng.
It was a man that Baek Sang had never seen before, but he said that he wasn’t a visitor?
“I am from Huayoung Gate.”
Baek Sang’s tone changed.
“Yes, I have to meet with the sect leader about matters concerning Huayoung Gate. Urgent matters. I know that it’s my fault for climbing the mountain without recognizing the situation, but could you please at least leave him a message for me?”
Baek Sang spoke in a polite tone.
“I apologize, but I have very limited knowledge and haven’t heard of Huayoung Gate.”
“But I can’t know everything. I’ll head in right now and ask about Huayoung Gate and deliver this message to the sect leader right away.”
“Then, please wait for a moment.”
Baek Sang closed the door and went inside. Still, the worst was avoided, so Wei Soheng sighed.
‘Such an incredible presence.’
Going by his appearance, he wasn’t much older than Wei Soheng. Just standing in front of him made Wei Soheng feel as if a sword was being held against his throat. It made him wonder what would happen if he really did wield a sword.
‘So, this is Mount Hua?’
Wei Soheng nervously waited for Baek Sang.
‘What if they kick me out?’
As Wei Soheng realized that Mount Hua had changed, his anxiety grew. Now that Mount Hua had spread its wings and begun to make a name for itself, perhaps Huayoung Gate no longer mattered to them.
After all, it had been decades since they had communicated properly…
It was then.
The door opened more violently than before, and Baek Sang rushed out with a stiff face.
“You said Huayoung Gate, right?”
“Yes? Ah… ah. Yes! Fro—from Huayoung Gate.”
“Please come inside. The sect leader said he’ll meet you right away.”
At the sudden change in attitude, Wei Soheng had a bewildered expression as he entered the sect along with Baek Sang.
‘I’m so nervous.’
Wei Soheng gulped.
Sitting across from him was Hyun Jong, the sect leader of Mount Hua, who was looking at him with a kind face.
For Wei Soheng, who was just a disciple of a small sect, simply facing the sect leader of Mount Hua was a sort of burden in itself.
And the burden didn’t end there.
To the left and right of Hyun Jong, dignified-looking people were seated.
‘How did it end up like this?’
Wei Soheng had rushed to Mount Hua as one final hope, but he didn’t think he would be given a chance to meet the leader of the sect.
But now that he was seeing the sect leader and elders, he couldn’t stop his pounding heart.
Hyun Jong opened his mouth,
“You said that you came from the Huayoung gate?
“Yes, yes! Sect leader! I am Wei Soheng from Huayoung Gate.”
“Hm. I see. I am Hyun Jong, the sect leader of Mount Hua.”
“It’s an honor to meet you.”
Hyun Jong smiled.
“You don’t have to be nervous.”
“… I am naturally timid.”
Hyun Jong reached out and pointed to the tea.
“Then have some tea. It might calm you.”
Wei Soheng reached out and drank the tea, but he couldn’t even tell how it smelled or tasted; he was too nervous.
“Huayoung Gate. Huayoung Gate. I know that it was part of Mount Hua’s inner circle, but perhaps the last visit was around thirteen years ago?”
“Of course, you must have been the little boy from back then.”
At that time, he wasn’t nervous at all. Back then, he was at an age where he didn’t understand what it meant to climb Mount Hua.
‘Mount Hua was very different from how it is now.’
The changes in Mount Hua were an incredible shock. Wei Soheng, who entered the gate, looked at the majestic tiles in the training area and almost fainted.
Mount Hua, in his memories, was a desolate place that was crumbling. What could have happened in the last ten years to bring about such change?
The position makes the person… no, the clothes make the man…
‘Money gives a man wings!’
When Wei Soheng recognized the financial power of Mount Hua, he felt depressed. Was it possible for him to make such a request?
“Right. Let’s see why you had to come all the way here?”
“Yes. Sect leader, the thing is….”
He couldn’t speak so easily despite the chance being given.
The door swung open, and an old man with a cold expression burst in.
“Huayoung Gate!? Did a person from Huayoung Gate come to visit, sect leader?”
“Give your greetings first when you—”
“Are you the person from Huayoung Gate!?”
Hyun Young fiercely looked at Wei Soheng, who nodded with a frightened face.
“Yes. I am…”
Before he could finish speaking, Hyun Young approached him and waved his arms.
‘Am I going to get hit!?’
Wei Soheng shut his eyes; however, Hyun Young smiled and tapped his shoulders.
“Huayoung Gate! Right Huayoung Gate came! Hahaha! Look at his dedication, he has to be a disciple from there!”
“What is it? Feel free to talk about it! Did you come because of any difficulties? Just say it, we’ll solve it!”
Wei Soheng was puzzled as he looked at Hyun Young.
What? What was this hospitality?
Hyun Jong, unable to watch this any longer, dissuaded Hyun Young.
“Won’t he be flustered if someone barges in and behaves like that?”
“Sect leader! This is the Huayoung Gate!”
Hyun Young smiled.
“Among all of our sub-sects, Huayoung Gate is the only one that has consistently sent money for us to use over the past thirty years! Now they’re all bringing money to cozy up to us. When we were struggling, others treated us like beggars, but Huayong Gate never neglected us! How often can one find such a loyal place?”
‘No, calling the sect a beggar in front of someone else….’
‘Think of the sect’s name….’
“Huayong Gate is the place that sent everything they could to help Mount Hua to meet our daily needs! They sent us money; you know? Money!”
“I know that….”
“There’s no other place like that. Huayoung Gate is the best of Mount Hua’s subsects! They’ve sent us money for over thirty years and never asked for anything in return! What a nice sect!”
His words were slowly becoming more radical, but it was understandable.
It didn’t matter how much money was sent. What mattered was that any additional help when Mount Hua was struggling surely helped to ease some of the sect’s worries, at least for a bit.
Money can always be paid back, but a debt of the heart can never be repaid. That was why Hyun Young appreciated them.
“Right. What is it? Are you short on money? Just tell me! I will lend it to you with a special low interest rate!”
“… Hyun Sang.”
“Yes, sect leader.”
When Hyun Sang got up, Hyun Young squinted his eyes and closed his mouth.
“Ah, I get it. I should shut up, right?”
Hyun Young, who said that, quickly sat in his seat.
Hyun Jong sighed deeply.
‘When will he grow up?’
To be precise, he wondered whether or not Hyun Young would return to how he once was. Hyun Young’s character flew out the window with the appearance of Chung Myung, and he still hadn’t returned to normal, even after all this time!
“You seem less nervous now. What happened for you to come to Mount Hua?”
“Yes, Sect leader.”
Wei Soheng took a deep breath and spoke.
“Huayoung Gate has a request. So, my father sent me to ask for help from the Sect leader.”
“What kind of help?”
Wei Soheng spoke with a bit of power.
“We want to take disciple Chung Myung, Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon.”
As soon as the name Chung Myung came out, a deep grimace began to spread on the faces of everyone there.
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