A cold mountain wind blew into their faces.
Hyun Jong’s gaze fell to a distant place. A place beyond Mount Hua, beyond Hua-Um village and beyond the distant southern land.
Behind Hyun Jong, who was silently staring into the distance, Hyung Young spoke.
“Isn’t it time for them to come back?”
“Why do you look so indifferent? It would be nice if you could give me some info about what is happening.”
Hyun Young’s words made Hyun Jong smile bitterly.
“They didn’t go out to play. They were children who went to complete a mission that was handed to them. Is there any certainty in such a situation?”
“It’s frustrating, it’s so damn frustrating!”
Hyun Young pretended to hit his chest. Hyun Jong frowned a little.
“What should I do? How would it look if the Sect Leader didn’t have any patience to wait?”
“Does the Sect Leader even have the right to say that? You have been up here ten times a day yourself.”
Hyun Jong went silent as he heard those words and shook his head. Unable to control his anxious heart, this was the third time he had come up today. Now, even Hyun Young and Hyun Sang were climbing up the mountain with him.
“They will be fine.”
Hyun Sang, who was there, said that to ease Hyun Jong. But Hyun Young didn’t seem to like it.
“Shouldn’t they have returned already? No matter how hard they try, do they stand a chance against Wudang? How can you talk so easily?”
“Aren't our children second to none? And they are different from us, so they will be fine.”
Hyun Young’s face contorted at those words.
“They need to be different. They should never turn out like us.”
At those words, all three of them had bitter expressions.
They were the ones who had witnessed the collapse of Mount Hua with their own eyes. They had experienced it with their body. They had seen countless people turn their backs on them, including those who they had once respected as Sahyungs.
In the midst of all that, they couldn’t even properly learn martial arts. How could they wish for such a horrendous experience to fall onto others?
“They have to be different. They have to live with pride and not like us.”
“The honor of Mount Hua…”
Hyun Young cut off the words which Hyun Sang was about to say.
“Honor and pride? Is that so important? I am satisfied as long as they don’t have to starve or be ignored when they go somewhere.”
Hyun Sang didn’t say anything and went silent.
Hyun Young was the elder in charge of the finance of Mount Hua for decades, and that man was saying that honor and fame weren’t important for martial artists... this meant that he had gone through things he didn’t speak of. So, Hyun Sang couldn’t say anything more.
“The children will bring a new name to Mount Hua.”
Hyun Jong smiled softly.
“We only need to nurture them till we die. That should be enough.”
It was then.
Hyun Jong, who was speaking, turned his head when he saw Un Am running up towards them.
Un Am, who climbed up, bowed to them and ran closer.
“A small merchant of Hua-Um has sent us a message from Nanyang.”
Hyun Jong’s eyes widened.
“Oh, a small merchant!”
Hyun Jong looked at Un Am with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. He wanted to hear the news right away, but he was afraid that it would be bad news.
Which was why he couldn't urge him more.
Hyun Young didn’t seem to feel that way and shouted.
“Quickly! Speak out!”
“Yes. The news is that the disciples of Mount Hua and the Wudang sect decided to spar in place of the Huayoung Gate and their respective sub-sect. And Mount Hua won, thus making the sub-sect of Wudang leave Nanyang!”
Hyun Jong’s eyes widened.
“Is that true?”
“The merchant said he checked the news several times to verify it. So, it has to be true.”
“They sparred against Wudang? Our kids won against Wudang?”
“Yes, sect leader.”
Hyun Jong burst into laughter, unable to say anything.
Hyun Sang smiled.
“Look at that. Didn’t I tell you that they are different?”
Hyun Sang knew the skills of the children who went to Nanyang, and it was unimaginable for them to lose to others.
The only thing which bothered him was that he didn't know the true level of skills of the Wudang disciples, but now, that worry was solved.
“And Huayoung Gate?”
“Huayoung Gate will continue to stay in Nanyang and will take in more disciples too.”
“Everything worked out well then.”
Hyun Young smiled at that.
“I knew it! Ah, those bastards, I knew that our bastards could do it!”
“Huh, winning over Wudang.”
“Really amazing. Those kids will really bring light onto the name of Mount Hua and one day…”
Hyun Sang, who was about to say something else, went silent.
It was a sensitive thing, so he couldn't bring himself to speak.
If the second and third-class disciples kept growing like this, then the day when Mount Hua reclaimed their spot in the Nine Great Sects would soon come.
It was a dream he didn’t want to put into words right now.
“Right. And the children will be back right away?”
“They haven’t contacted us directly so that isn’t known yet. But since they have nothing left to do in Nanyang, they should be coming back I guess?”
Hyun Jong smiled and looked at Hyun Young.
When his title was called, Hyun Young stood tall.
“Yes, Sect leader.”
“Shouldn’t we be preparing something for the children who have done such a huge task?”
“Don’t worry. I will prepare everything well.”
“Right. They should be back in three days or so.”
With the warmest eyes, Hyun Jong looked in the direction where Nanyang was.
‘You worked so hard, you kids.’
It was then. Hyun Young spoke as if wondering.
“But it is kind of weird.”
“What do you mean?”
“Chung Myung...that brat didn’t seem to have created any accidents. If he did something, we would have gotten the news a lot faster.”
Hyun Jong burst into laughter as he heard that.
“Isn't he a Taoist after all? Although he is a brat on the outside, isn’t he a Taoist on the inside?”
“Through this incident, the world will know that Mount Hua hasn’t fallen yet. And they will also know that our disciples are second to none in the world. Now we will all have to work harder.”
“Yes, sect leader.”
Hyun Jong smiled brightly.
His gaze was clear without any worries.
The people here didn’t know.
What 'that' Chung Myung was currently up to.
Things in this world never worked out the way one wanted them to. And this was especially true when it came to matters related to Chung Myung.
The elder of Wudang, Heo Sanja, turned his head and looked at Jin Hyeon.
“As you said before…”
“There is no other sub-sect in Nanyang other than Huayoung Gate.”
“Nanyang is no different from a village so there aren’t many people here, right?”
Heo Sanja looked ahead. After looking for a long time, he opened his mouth.
“Then what does all these people here mean?”
Jin Hyeon too looked ahead blankly.
Well, what should he say?
Or a gathering?
The entrance of Nanyang was filled with people. The problem wasn’t that those people were blocking the entrance to the place, but that they were all entering Nanyang.
In other words… it meant that a lot of people were now heading into Nanyang.
Besides, seeing all of them wearing weapons on their waists, it was no doubt that they were all martial artists.
Jin Hyeon knew it right away.
‘That man must have done something!’
Other than that, it made no sense for so many to come here, and he kept thinking of Chung Myung each time he saw the people.
Jin Hyeon held back the anger and spoke slowly.
“I think the Mount Hua bastards are up to something.”
“Couldn’t they have spread the information of the map?”
Heo Sanja’s eyes shook.
“… t-that was spread? What the hell are they thinking?”
It is impossible to measure the value of the Sword Tomb. Isn’t that why the Wudang Sect had risked the lives of their people for it? But Mount Hua was going around spreading such valuable information?
‘Is this what any sane human would do?’
Heo Sanja looked at the entrance of Nanyang with blank eyes. Heo Sanja, who was known to have a calm disposition compared to others, couldn’t help but turn anxious at the situation.
He had heard countless times that Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon was insane. But he wasn’t sure if this could be called insane.
“Even if it was spread, how did so many people gather within just three days?”
“… it seems like they leaked the information to the neighboring places of Nanyang too. It looks like the disciples of the sects around Nanyang have come, right?”
Heo Sanja’s eyes twitched.
This was what they wanted to avoid. The Sword Tomb was a place people were desperate to reach, and they wouldn’t back down from spilling blood. Wasn’t this why they were moving in secret?
‘Something feels evil.’
Heo Sanja immediately recognized it.
This wasn’t done to get the Sword Tomb. Rather, it was done to prevent the Wudang Sect from getting there and taking it alone.
“Was it the Divine Dragon who took the map from us?”
‘What is he up to?’
The more he thought about it, the more absurd the situation felt.
‘How could a little boy even have such a poisonous mind?’
If I can’t have it, then so can’t you.
Heo Sanja bit down at the evil thoughts he was feeling from Nanyang.
“How do we act now, elder?”
Heo Sanja looked at Jin Hyeon.
It was true that he was shocked, but he couldn’t be in that state.
“The fact that they are heading to Nanyang means that they haven’t found out the answer yet, right?”
“Seems like it.”
Heo Sanja bit his lip.
The idea of someone grabbing them by their ankles didn’t feel right.
“Then nothing will change. The plan will be to avoid people’s eyes, and if possible, we get to the Sword Tomb as fast as we can.”
The eyes of the Wudang disciples turned firm.
He glanced ahead. There were people who were looking from side to side, and some were talking to the others.
“We have already attracted attention; we need to move. Remember that people will keep getting in our way.”
“There is one thing you should not forget. We are the Wudang sect’s disciples. If we put our minds to it, no one in the world can stand in our way!”
The name of Wudang set fire to their hearts.
“Although we were trying to avoid creating such a nuisance it wasn’t because we were scared. Now everyone will know that.”
Heo Sanja looked at everyone and spoke in a cold voice.
“Get ready. We will move to the Sword Tomb.”
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