Chapter 132 - Now my work starts! (2)

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“Sahyung. Are you awake?”

Jin Hyeon slowly opened his eyes and frowned. Reflected in his vision were Jin Mu’s face and the dark night sky behind him.

“T-this is…”

“We’re on our way back to Wudang. We haven’t gotten off the mountain path yet.”

Jin Hyeon jumped to his feet when he heard that.

Ack.”

“Your internal wounds are deep. You need to be careful, Sahyung.”

“… wounds?”

Jin Hyeon’s eyes trembled.

He suddenly recalled the torrent of plum blossoms that flew towards him.

‘I lost.’

It didn’t take Jin Hyeon long to accept the situation. He couldn’t deny what he’d seen with his own eyes.

“… and what happened to the others?”

“Sahyung fell and everyone else lost. So, I admitted defeat and stepped down.”

Jin Hyeon glared indignantly at Jin Mu. However, he didn’t say anything.

‘Nothing can be done.’

He wanted to curse and blame Jin Mu for not fighting to the end, but that was just his pride driving his emotions. Once Jin Hyeon and the others had fallen, the result was already apparent. Even if the remaining disciples had rushed in, nothing would have changed.

Rather, it was wiser for the sajaes to withdraw without risking further injuries.

“… well done.”

“I apologize, Sahyung.”

“No. it isn’t your fault. It is mine… I was lacking.”

Jin Hyeon bit his lip.

A clear defeat.

An irresistible sense of defeat began to weigh heavily on Jin Hyeon. What made it more painful was that this defeat wasn’t due to any mistake on his part.

‘I didn’t even see what the sword was till the end.’

He had lost purely because of a lack of skill.

He had lost to the Righteous Sword of Mount Hua, a man known to be even weaker than Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon.

And that realization was unbearable.

“The fact that all of the sajaes were defeated means their strength isn’t just limited to one or two people either.”

The second-class disciples of Mount Hua are stronger than the second-class disciples of Wudang.

How could this absurdity be believed?

“… and the training hall?”

“For now, I told the training hall leader to empty out by tomorrow morning because of Sahyung’s agreement.”

Jin Hyeon closed his eyes.

It was promised on his honor that their sub-sect would leave Nanyang if they were defeated by Mount Hua. The promise he made without much thought had ensnared them now.

‘I’ve thrown dirt on Wudang’s name.’

There were a lot of people who saw the fight between Mount Hua and Wudang. As long as those people have eyes and mouths, they will surely spread the word about what happened.

Just as the Southern Edge Sect had become a stepping stone for Mount Hua’s soaring reputation, Wudang was now bound to become kindling that would further fuel their prestige.

‘No, that isn’t what matters now.’

Reputation was a secondary concern. Sub-sects were one thing, but the reason they wanted Nanyang for themselves wasn’t something so trivial.

Jin Hyeon tightly bit his lip and spoke.

“Jin Mu.”

“Yes! Sahyung!”

“You should head to the main sect right now and inform them of the situation here.”

“Sorry?”

“The sajaes will remain here and tend to their injuries while awaiting further instructions from headquarters. This isn’t a situation where we can just walk back easily.”

“I understand.”

Jin Hyeon’s face hardened.

‘I’ve kept my promise to leave Nanyang, and I’ll keep my promise not to get involved in matters related to Huayoung Gate. But I never said anything about returning to the Wudang sect.’

Jin Hyeon smiled.

He knew he was being thick-skinned.

It was shameful to break a promise made on one’s honor, but sometimes you must sacrifice yourself for a cause.

“Jin Mu, go ahead.”

“Yes, sahyung!”

It was then.

“You don’t have to.”

Everyone’s heads turned toward the voice. They seemed to see bushes shaking as a man emerged.

“S-Sasuk!”

“H-how…?”

Everyone was shocked.

The face of a man they were intimately familiar with appeared from the foliage.

The man that appeared looked at Jin Hyeon and frowned.

“You were defeated?”

Jin Hyeon bit his lips.

“… I apologize.”

“You lost? Did Mount Hua send a greater number of disciples than we did? Or was there some other sect supporting them?”

“…”

Jin Hyeon couldn’t bring himself to reply.

He couldn’t help it.

It was very difficult to expose his shame to the man who appeared. Because this man was his sasuk, Mu Jin.

Mu Jin.

Anyone who’s heard this name would immediately recall a certain title.

The Three Swords of Wudang.

The Mu disciples were the first-class disciples of the Wudang Sect.

The Three Swords of Wudang were known to be the strongest among them.

And one of them was standing here right now!

“The sect leader felt ill at ease, so he asked me to come down and monitor the situation. From what I’ve seen, it would appear the sect leader’s insight wasn’t wrong, Jin Hyeon.”

“… Yes, sasuk.”

“Tell me, in your own words. What happened in Nanyang?”

Jin Mu, who tried to assist Jin Hyeon, stepped forward.

“Sasuk, I will tell—”

“Jin Mu, don’t go out of your way.”

“Sahyung.”

Jin Hyeon, who analyzed the situation silently, finally spoke.

“I’ll explain sasuk.”

Hmm.”

Mu Jin stroked his beard.

According to what Jin Hyeon had told him, none of the second-class disciples could stand against Mount Hua. This was even more serious than Jin Hyeon’s defeat.

“Mount Hua is that strong?”

It was conceptually impossible.

Martial arts are passed down from one generation to another. If the top of the hierarchy is strong, the bottom will also be strong. But if the top is weak, then the bottom is weak. Occasionally some anomalies occur, but not across generations like this.

Mount Hua was on the verge of collapse. Therefore, the martial arts of the elders and senior generations are clearly insignificant now. Does it make any sense that the juniors in Mount Hua have somehow become stronger than the disciples of the Wudang sect?

Hmmm.”

Mu Jin, who was thinking, tilted his head and looked at Jin Hyeon.

‘There’s no way this child would lie to me.’

“Jin Hyeon.”

“Yes, Sasuk.”

“You made a promise on your name?”

“… yes. But… my honor and such….”

“You!”

Mu Jin spoke in a whisper.

“It might not be a huge deal to get your name dirty. But where does your name and honor end? Who will even care about your name? If you behave disgracefully, people will curse the Wudang sect, not you. Don’t you understand that doing something like that would defile the name of the Wudang sect?”

“… I apologize.”

Mu Jin raised an eyebrow while looking at Jin Hyeon with displeasure.

“A swordsman shouldn’t speak so easily, and your honor should never be treated so lightly.”

“… Yes.”

“Give up on Nanyang.”

“Sasuk?”

“After all, Nanyang is just a place we wanted to use so that others wouldn’t set their sights on our goal. With that being the case, it’s better to skip over Nanyang altogether and head straight for the Sword Tomb.”

“But we haven’t figured out the location for the Sword Tomb yet, isn’t that why we needed to stay in Nanyang?”

“Don’t worry. I’ve deciphered the location of the Sword Tomb.”

Ah!”

Jin Hyeon’s eyes shook.

There was no need to waste time in Nanyang if that was the case. They could go straight to the site.

“It is a shame that we lost to Mount Hua. But compared to what we have to do now, such things are trivial. There will be plenty of opportunities to redeem yourself in the future, so get your mind straight!”

“Yes, sasuk!”

Jin Hyeon’s eyes widened and lit up.

‘If the Sword Tomb can be opened, we can repay them for this disgrace.’

“Those who are seriously injured should head back now. Support from the main sect will come soon, so don’t bother overdoing it here. Only those who can work may come with me.”

Mu Jin frowned when he saw the disciples’ hesitation; they all wished to travel with him despite their injuries.

“I told you just know that a swordsman should evaluate things calmly! Are you going to be a burden to your sahyungs and sajaes?”

Only then did three people step back and bow their heads.

“Sorry, sasuk.”

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t apologize for standing despite your injuries. Go back and get treated. I will handle the rest here. Don’t tell me that you lack faith in me?”

“Of course, we believe in you, Sasuk.”

“That’s enough then.”

Mu Jin smiled.

“Go and wait. Tell the main sect what happened in Nanyang and tell them that I went straight to the Sword Tomb with the others.”

“Yes!”

As the others moved away, Mu Jin looked at Jin Hyeon.

“Will you be able to come?”

“I will not be a burden.”

“Well…”

Mu Jin nodded his head.

“Then, follow me….”

Suddenly, Mu Jin turned his head to one side.

“Sasuk?”

Mun Jin frowned while looking at one of the bushes nearby.

“Who is it?”

Huh?”

The gaze of Jin Hyeon and the other disciples quickly shifted to follow Mu Jin’s.

Step Step.

The sound of someone walking on the grass could be heard as a man covered in black clothing slowly emerged from the darkness.

‘Black?’

A completely black outfit, with black masking his face as well.

Anyone could tell that this man was suspicious and strange. He calmly walked out and stood in front of the crowd before speaking.

“Hello, a robber passing by has something to ask you. What’s a Sword Tomb?”

“…”

“…”

‘A passing robber?’

‘Did he just reveal himself as a robber?’

Mu Jin’s eyes fluttered.

‘This, this…’

Mu Jin is proud to say that he had experienced quite a lot in life, but this was the first time he’d seen something so nonsensical. What kind of robber identifies himself as a robber?

In front of Wudang’s disciples, no less.

“A robber roaming this remote mountain?”

“… Uh.

The masked man was slightly startled before responding.

“Maybe, I’m a bandit then?”

‘Has he gone mad?’

Mu Jin and the other disciples shared the same thought. But one of them felt a similar sort of feeling from this robber’s body.

‘M-Maybe?’

The words escaped his lips before he even finished sorting his thoughts.

“Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon?”

“…”

The masked man titled his head.

“… No, I didn’t do anything to give myself awa—no. I’m definitely not that kind of person.”

Jin Hyeon’s face contorted.

‘The tea is already spilled! You brat!’

“Still, as a disciple of Mount Hua I thought you’d have some honor but hiding your face and committing robbery! Have you no shame!?”

Jin Hyeon spoke to the masked… no, to Chung Myung, who shrugged.

“Well, that’s not me, so that doesn’t apply.”

“You are seriously—”

“Hey, you seem to misunderstand something.”

Hm?”

“Soon, you’ll admit that I’m not me. That’s usually the case.”

It was something that a lot of people had experienced.

“If you continue to mock people….”

Jin Hyeon silenced himself as he was about to yell; his eyes had fallen on Mu Jin, who had raised his hand.

“Then.”

Mu Jin smiled.

“You’re saying that you are a robber and not a disciple of Mount Hua.”

Oh! Finally, there’s someone here that knows how to communicate.”

“Right. You could never be a disciple of Mount Hua.”

Huh?”

Mu Jin unsheathed his sword and pointed ahead.

“I am just cutting down a robber. Mount Hua’s disciple never existed here in the first place, right?”

Huh?”

Chung Myung exclaimed.

‘This man is smart.’

“If you remove your mask and apologize to us now, we could resolve this moderately. However, if you keep fooling around and wasting time, then you’ll see just how heartless my sword is.”

“Oh, really?”

Chung Myung smiled.

“Then let me also tell you in advance. If you tell me about this Sword Tomb and what you know, then I’ll make sure you can still walk away on your own feet.”

“…”

“Otherwise, you won’t be able to return on foot. I assure you.”

Mu Jin smiled.

“They say Mount Hua has gotten stronger.”

“What an embarrassing thing to say.”

‘… at least try to hide your damn identity you idiot!’

“Among them, they say that the one called Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon is the strongest.”

Haha. You’re going to make me blush.”

Jin Hyeon gave up. It was impossible for him to interpret this man’s words.

“Well then…”

Mu Jin swung his sword.

“Let’s take a look at how great the Divine Dragon is, shall we?”

“You don’t seem to understand. I’m not from Mount Hua.”

Chung Myung drew his sword.

“There’s a plum pattern on your sword though?”

Chung Myung frowned.

“Pretend like you didn’t see it. Be polite.”

Mu Jin’s smile deepened.

“Of course, I will.”

His eyes were shining.

“That way, even if you get seriously injured, I won’t need to worry about any consequences. Prepare yourself!”

“Even after all these years, the people of Wudang never change.”

Chung Myung raised his sword and aimed it at Mu Jin.

“Can I say one more thing?”

“… What is it?”

Chung Myung smiled slyly, and he spoke.

“Be careful with that head of yours. It’s turned into a habit for me.”

The smile faded from Mu Jin’s face.

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